Bikeways Data update

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Metro loves bikes–it’s a great way to expand your reach! Check out the Bike pages for everything you need to know about bringing your bike on Metro’s vehicles. In addition to offering transportation Metro is helping to expand bikeways around the Southland. These bikeways are always changing, and we keep pace by publishing the map data here for you:

In October (2012) we changed the bikeways data format to better serve our riders. We now publish the bikeways data as a KMZ file. Please head over to Wikipedia and Google to learn more about the KMZ data format. In short, KMZ is an archive of several files (one KML file and supporting files) prepared for use in Google Earth and Google Maps.

Here is what you will see after opening he file in Google Earth:


Default settings will load Class 1 (bike paths) in white, Class 2 (bike lanes) in gold, and Class 3 (bike routes) in purple. Check this Wikipedia page for an explanation of these designations.

We want you to carry the latest bikeways data with you in your smartphone. Load the KMZ file into Google Maps and you’ll be ready for anything until your battery gives up.

The Google map products allow you to make your own maps. Google maps + KML = custom mashups. You will want a good map on your next bobacrawl through K-Town.

If you prefer custom vectors the  PDF map is for you. You’ll find that here:

Be safe out there!


Feeding Metro’s new Digital Signage

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I had a dream when I first started commuting to Metro. I wanted to know exactly when the eastbound 704 would arrive at Santa Monica and Normandie so that I would know exactly how fast I would have to run to make the bus. Five years later that dream has arrived and it is dependable. With Nextrip I know exactly when the bus will arrive. More than that, I use the mobile apps to find alternative routes. I need time for a slice of guava cheese pie before work. Mmm!

Metro wants every rider to have realtime arrival information. Nextrip is available on every mobile device. If you can make a call, send a text or access a web page or install an app you can plan a trip and know when your bus is coming. (There is a lot more user information >>here.)

Nextrip is great in the field, and we are working to put that realtime information in our stations and terminals too. You can see the first deployment at El Monte station. Signage is there to let riders know where the buses may be found and when. Traditionally Metro has used a combination of permanent signs and paper to let riders know how the routes flow through the station.

There are several reasons why this information would change. Digital signage gives us the opportunity to let riders know what’s happening in real time, and it’s the real time part that got my attention. This was a great use for Metro’s public API.

Let’s review the problems we were trying to solve:

  1. Getting real time  information to the platform
  2. Coordinating with schedules and real-time changes
  3. Providing secure administrative interface to operations and communications staff
  4. 24/7 availability
  5. Lightweight, universal data structures
  6. Useful for all applications (web, mobile devices, news aggregators, social media, etc.)
  7. Integrate with multiple streams of information (schedules, scheduled maintenance, realtime conditions)

The first thing I did was to rebuild the web infrastructure. See coming post on >>Metro’s revised API. The first version of the API was pretty fast but not as robust as any of us would like. Adding terminal data required adding a database to the mix as well as providing secure editing screens. All of this was made relatively painless thanks to the popularity of JSON/P and the open-source community. Again it was quite easy to integrate the new features and upgrade the infrastructure. Try it out:



et voilà!

I will post documentation here as soon as the system has gone live and everyone is happy with the data.

What’s new in Metro’s GTFS archive

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The good people in our Service Performance Analysis team update the file a few times each month. Most updates are small changes to schedules or routes. For example we add the Dodger Stadium Express each year for home games during baseball season. We also add service for service to and from LA Unified’s schools on weekdays during the school year.

Twice each year in July and December you will see a message like this:

This GTF is twice the size of our normal feed. This feed 
will be replaced in approximately two weeks by our 
DEC12 Standalone feed, which will have ONLY the service 
for the next service period (the one beginning Dec 16th, 
2012), and which will be normal-sized.

The GTFS spec allows us to include the old and new schedules in a single archive. The calendar_dates table allows us to specify the transition from old to new. For this biannual edition we include schedule and route information before and after the shakeup. That’s hwo we ensure that Google Transit will publish the latest info on .

This is convenient for Google and probably irritating to our mobile app developers. You may wish to avoid these special shakeup editions and wait for Metro’s normal GTFS archive. We publish these as soon as possible after the shakeup changes have been implemented.

We keep GTFS archives under this directory:

A little PHP script keeps the index on

fresh for us. The Archive goes back to January 2009.  We don’t archive the README notes but we could. Do you have a need for these notes?

By the time you read this shakeup will be done and our GTFS archive will be back to normal. Check this archive if you want to see the gory details: June 22 2012 22:17 42.78 MB


Request for Proposals: Front End Web Development Services

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Happy New Year developers!

Metro is seeking proposals for Front-End WebDev services, we’ve placed the posting on Krop. Interested or know anyone who may be interested, see description below:

Request for Proposals: Front End Web Development Services

Metro Communications is seeking proposals for Front End Web Development Services to help migrate our current websites / systems offsite. The qualified contractor will work on a project basis to assist Metro’s Web Team make our websites and digital tools “responsive” for desktop, touchpad and mobile devices; and update our web files to utilize HTML5 and CSS3. You will provide formatting and styling for our various interactive resources that include websites, mobile websites, online applications, RSS and XML feeds, and email templates.

We seek a contractor with deep technical knowledge of web and desktop applications, user interface and interaction design, and modern web technology (HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, JS Toolkits, UI Libraries, and UI Toolkits).

Services will be provided as an independent contractor and do not include employee benefits.


Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. It serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for one of the country’s largest, most populous counties. More than 9.6 million people – nearly one-third ofCalifornia’s residents – live, work, and play within its 1,433-square-mile service area.

Metro currently utilizes the Django (Python) web framework, and various Dojo / jQuery Javascript components. We adhere to ADA Section 508 Guidelines and accommodate depreciated browsers.

Interested parties may contact Project Manager below for additional background materials to develop your proposals (overview of CSS and JS files, wireframes and number of website page templates, wireframes for new feature).


Scope of Work

  • Analyze existing HTML templates, CSS files, and Javascript implementation; make recommendations to keep front-end technology up-to-date, adopting HTML5 and CSS3, minimize Javascript where possible.
  • Overhaul HTML templates, CSS files, and Javascript files to provide responsive feedback for desktop, touchpad and mobile devices. (I.E. the website presentation should detect and accommodate to the user’s preferences of a desktop, touchpad or mobile platform.)
  • Provide front-end development for new interactive features, page components, web modules, and web applications.
  • Provide QA and debugging for cross-browser and cross-platform testing; ensure formatting is ADA/Section 508 Compliant and accommodates depreciated browsers.
  • Collaborate with Metro’s web team and back-end developers to ensure full integration into web framework.
  • Meet with web team and Communications staff for project kickoffs, reviews, and/or file delivery.


Phase 1

  1. Analysis report of Metro’s current front-end implementation (HTML templates, CSS files, Javascript implementation, and WordPress templates);
  2. Project plan/schedule for overhaul of Metro’s front-end implementation (HTML templates, CSS files, Javascript, and WordPress templates) to provide responsive feedback for desktop, touchpad and mobile devices, and upgrade to HTML5 and CSS3. Plan should include QA and troubleshooting and debugging;
  3. Front-end development technical files for entire website migration. This includes all master HTML page templates, CSS, and Javascript files for web framework integration (they should be Section 508 Compliant, accommodate depreciated browsers, QAed, and debugged). A Quality Assurance (QA) report should accompany delivery of HTML page templates, CSS files, Javascript files.
  4. Front-end development technical files for new website feature: Enhanced Line and Station/Stop Pages. This includes all master HTML page templates, CSS, and Javascript files for web framework integration (they should be Section 508 Compliant, accommodate depreciated browsers, QAed, and debugged). A Quality Assurance (QA) report should accompany delivery of HTML page templates, CSS files, Javascript files.
  5. Format data-table templates (schedule timetables) for various outputs, including digital for desktop, mobile, and other handhelds; print for bus stop inserts of varying sizes. This includes all master HTML page templates, and CSS files for web framework integration (they should be Section 508 Compliant, accommodate depreciated browsers, QAed, and debugged). A Quality Assurance (QA) report should accompany delivery of HTML page templates, CSS files.


Phase 2

Maintenance of all items delivered, along with ongoing front-end development services as needed. Services may include maintenance and new development:

  • Updating technical formatting files (HTML templates, CSS files, Javascript) due to newly discovered bugs, errors, software updates;
  • Modifications to site-wide design elements as global navigation, user interface controls, global footer, etc.


Compensation & Terms

  • Metro will pay against submitted invoices per terms of the contract:
    • Phase 1: Invoices based on delivery of items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    • Phase 2: Invoices based on hourly rate
  • Independent Contractor’s compensation shall commensurate with qualifications and experience and subject to negotiation with Metro.
  • Insurance is required to work at Metro; specifics will be discussed at time of selection.
  • Services will be provided as an independent contractor and does not include employee benefits.


Period of Performance

  • Independent contractor shall complete work by June 30, 2013, unless this Contract is terminated earlier or extended by Metro, as provided in the Contract.
  • Phase 1 should be complete within 5 months of award of contract.
  • Metro may extend the Period of Performance at its sole discretion by exercising up to two one year extensions by issuance of an appropriately funded modification to the Contract.
  • Funding for this Contract is based upon availability of funds as determined by Metro’s fiscal budget which runs from July 1 through June 30 of each fiscal year. If funding is not approved for any subsequent fiscal year during which the Contract is in effect, Metro will issue a stop work notice.


Proposal Requirements

Interested parties are requested to submit the following materials via email only:

  • Qualifications and experience of contractor
  • Samples and descriptions of previous Front End Web Development work (please submit sample code and links)
  • Phase 1 fee proposal (fee per each deliverable)
  • Phase 2 hourly rate


Evaluation Criteria

Note: the most highly qualified candidates may be invited for an interview.

  • Qualifications and background – 37.5%
  • Technical Experience – 37.5%
  • Fee Proposal – 25%


Proposal Deadline

Submit proposal requirements via email only as outlined above by Monday, January 23, 2012; 10AM PST.

Attn:                Lan-Chi Lam, Interactive Design and Strategy Manager
Subject:           Front End WebDev Services
Questions:       You may contact Lan-Chi Lam with questions via email. Answers will be provided by end of the week in a batch (grouped).

Please, no off-shore or job placement services.

Email problem remedied

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Happy new year to all!

I apologize on behalf of Metro for any trouble you may have experienced with the site since we relaunched last month. Metro Developer has been moved to a server with the ability to send email. That means that we may now send you password updates and reminders as well as keep you informed of the latest developments on the site.

Please let me know if you have any trouble with the site and I’ll do my best to put it right again.


Douglas Goodwin

Developer for Metro Creative Services
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

no more development?

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So, none of the URLs seem to work- for example, It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so I am assuming that it’s been dead for a long time? Even the link to additional resources doesn’t work-

technical difficulties

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Hi everybody, Some of you have noticed some problems with the email on the site. I’m sorry to report that we’re have some trouble with both sending and receiving emails. We’ll be working on these problems today and will keep you updated on our progress. The best way to reach us in the meantime is to use this address: metrodeveloper -at- gmail -dot- com

Nice start

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Nice start! I’ve test driven the trip planner and have a few comments. Unfortunately, the comment system is broken for me (see below), so let me try this avenue.

When calling a schedule query in the morning(PT-zone), a schedule query only returns PM departures. Example, issued on Saturday June 20 2009 at 8:58AM PT-zone:

The resulting departures are way in the future:

<------------- snip -------------->
<------------- snip -------------->

Queries sent in the afternoon or shortly after midnight (I suspect to the end of the operational day) seem to be correct.

Generally, I would recommend the use of an abstract time format that does not include AM/PM or other formatting.

Other feeds that include time data use the following:

  • TriMet web services: time in millis since midnight 1, January 1970 UTC (Basis in Java, used by TriMet’s web service)
  • A 24h time format with UTC as reference, e.g.: 2004-04-27T25:00

(I am using 25h transit format as an example)

I’d prefer TriMet’s format – it’s easy to process in Java as Java time/date conversions take the timezone of the processor in consideration, including daylight savings time and the differences involving the handling of daylight savings time around the globe.

I’ve run into a strange problem on this web site: After deleting a post, it is no longer possible to post; error message:

“sorry, your note appears to have been empty!
Please use your back button to return to the previous page and try again ”

This regardless of web browser, i.e. it seems this is a back end, not a caching problem.