Open-Source Software and Open Data: Key Concepts, Examples, and Opportunities for Mobility Managers

  • Author: Kevin Chambers, Lara Bjork
  • Date: 08/09/2021

This report compiles blog posts published on the National Center for Mobility Management website. The posts cover closely related topics: open-source software and open data. For both topics, the goals are similar: to define key terms and concepts, provide examples (both generalized and specific to public transit), and explore opportunities for mobility managers to further engage with these ideas.

The section on open-source software (OSS) focuses on:

  • Defining “open-source software”
  • Clarifying the nuances of “free” that are associated with this term
  • Providing examples of different business models associated with OSS projects, including:
    • projects with significant corporate backing (Linux operating system and Firefox web browser),
    • a project driven by volunteers that has a decades-long history of competing with proprietary commercial counterparts (PostgreSQL database), and
    • a transit-specific example (OpenTripPlanner, also volunteer-supported)
  • Describing one successful example of open-source software being used by mobility managers (at the Utah Transit Authority) as well as barriers to broad adoption of open-source software that is specific to the needs of mobility managers
  • Outlining ways that mobility managers can participate in OSS projects

The section on open data focuses on:

  • Defining “open data”
  • Sharing examples of open data in our everyday lives
  • Exploring examples of open data in the transit sector
  • Forecasting what’s on the horizon for open data and transit data standards
  • Looking more deeply at the GTFS-flex data standard, what it can do for mobility managers, and how to get ready to open your agency’s data



Open Resource


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