How Transit Displays GTFS Data

Transit has many different screens displaying GTFS data from transit agencies, and knowing where it is displayed can help producers understand where their data ends up.

For information about producing clear GTFS static data, see our Data Guidelines page. For information on how to use Transit, see our User Support section.


The Nearby screen is the main screen of Transit. Here you can see information about all routes near your location

  • The transit map is the main map, and shows the larger network in your area, without a line needing to be selected. This map shows all the rail lines (route_type=0,1,2,5,6,12) and BRT systems (some routes with route_type=3,11) in the city.
  • Transit generally displays the route_short_name as the main line indicator. In situations where the route_short_name does not exist or is not relevant for rider information, Transit displays the route_long_name. To match as much as possible what riders see while travelling, a mode image and/or a route image can partially or totally replace the route_short_name and/or route_long_name.
  • The name of the direction comes from the stop_headsign if this one is provided, or the trip_headsign if not. If both the stop_headsign and the trip_headsign are not provided, Transit displays the name of the trip’s last stop.
  • The ETA displayed on the right comes from the departure_time provided for the stop mentioned at the bottom left of the nearby cell.

trip_short_names and branch codes are displayed next to the relevant trip_headsigns

  • If trip_headsign is in the form "<cardinal direction> to <destination>" and the following three departures do not have the same headsign, Transit's Nearby display splits headsigns, arranging destinations underneath the direction (if it exists).
  • Transit will automatically recognize letter branch codes if trip_headsign begins with a single letter character followed by a hyphen. Check the Transit data guidelines to ensure they are formatted correctly.
  • trip_short_names can be added if they are used frequently and are recognizable to riders (e.g. train numbers).

The route cell can be swiped left or right to display the different direction_ids

  • Generally, a route has 2 directions, so the cell can be swiped once to reveal the other direction. The cell cannot be swiped in case of an unidirectional loop route, for example.

route_color & route_text_color will appear in the cell of a route

  • Values for route_color and route_text_color that are not consistent with paper or online communication materials made by the transit agency may have been changed by Transit.
  • In metropolitan areas with many transit operators (e.g. Los Angeles), route_color can be used to distinguish agencies, and the color should be unique to the entire agency.
  • The route_color will be displayed in both search and nearby as well as the background of the route's cell. route_text_color will be used for the text appearing in these three places.
  • Refer to Transit GTFS guidelines to see how to represent these properly.

Route Details

Route details are accessed by tapping a route from nearby

  • Agency logos can be displayed in a route's detailed view, but like all other images, these must be sent to Transit as SVGs.
  • Accessibility information can be displayed but users must turn accessibility preferences on in their Transit settings to see this information. Check the accessibility to see where to turn these on.
  • When real-time data is available, a vehicle image is displayed on the map to represent the vehicle’s current location. This image is based on the route_type and may be easily changed to a different vehicle image to improve the user experience. However, this image must represent an actual vehicle and must not be a logo.

In route details, you can see all of the destinations available for your route

  • If a route has more than one destination or branch, they will be displayed in their departure order.
  • By tapping "More departures", you can see all destinations and their departure times from your stop.
  • Branch codes will be automatically detected and added, while trip_short_names can be added if riders use them to recognize departures.

On the stop list, you can see all the routes that connect at each stop

  • The stop list displays all the next stops of the trip, starting from the stop selected, and is shown by tapping on the nearby cell to the terminus.
  • The row below each stop name shows the routes the riders can transfer to at that stop. Please note that not all the routes may be displayed due to limitations related to Transit’s data consumption system.
  • The routes displayed under the stop name will be grouped by mode and represented either by a route image or their route_short_name.


The schedule view lists all of the upcoming departures for a route at the current stop

  • By selecting "More departures" in route details you can access all destinations and their departure times from your stop.
  • By Default, Transit downloads up to 4 weeks' worth of schedules. If schedules for the next 4 weeks are not available to users in the app, it may mean the most recent GTFS dataset Transit downloaded was valid for less than 4 weeks.

Search results contain information about routes and stops that users may be looking for. Two results will be shown for each search term. 

  • By tapping on the search bar in Nearby, a user may search for routes, stops, or locations.
  • Searching for a route allows users to see both the route_short_name and route_long_name when both are provided.
  • Searching for a stop allows users to see the stop image, which contains any logos displayed at the top of stop poles or on station entrances. When no stop images are defined by the agency, a default vehicle image based on the route_type shows up.

Trip Planner

In the trip planner, you can see all information relevant to the available trips for your destination

  • When a user taps on a stop or a location provided in the search results, Transit will suggest several trip plans to the chosen destination.
  • Fares will appear in the app when available and provided. Find more information about fares V2 in Transit data guidelines and the specification.

Trip Details

Once a trip is selected, details about your route are provided.

  • When a user taps on a suggested trip plan, Transit will show the trip plan's details.
  • As in Route Details, the route shape is taken from the shapes.txt file.


Transit modes

Access your settings by tapping on the gear icon at the top left corner of the home screen, followed by the middle slider icon. Then, scroll down to access "My transit modes".

  • The "My transit modes" section lists all of the modes available along with their associated agency.
  • This information is based on the route_type and the agency name. They may be localized for more accuracy.

Appearance settings can be adjusted in settings.

  • The app's appearance can be set to dark mode, light mode, or whatever your phone’s system setting is.
  • The colors in light mode will be accurate to the colors provided in routes.txt. See Transit Data Guidelines for information on how to properly set these.
  • In dark mode, these colours will be inverted and may be adjusted by Transit to make them more visible and WCAG compliant.

Accessibility settings can be turned on in Settings under "My transit options".

  • Accessibility information is only visible in the app if toggled on by the user in their settings.
  • Lines that have a colour in their name (e.g. STM Orange Line) can have the color written out, which can help people with visual impairments. This can be turned on in settings under "My transit options".

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