CTA Bus transportation

The Bus Network:


The bus tracker API

The Bus Tracker API allows developers to request and retrieve data directly from BusTime (the system which produces estimated arrival times and which provides location and route information in real-time).

What data is available through the API?

Data available through the API includes:

  •  Vehicle locations
  •  Route data (route lists, stop lists geo-positional route definitions, etc.)
  •  Prediction Data
  •  Service Bulletins

How does the Developer API work?

  • The developer API uses the same data from the BusTime system, which powers CTA Bus Tracker. Information about the location, direction and status of CTA buses is fed from each bus and delivered to the BusTime system, which then can show where buses are or estimate arrival times to stops ahead of a bus.
    Data is updated about once per minute, and arrival estimations are based on how long it normally takes for a bus to get from one place to the next. Because traffic conditions and other unexpected delays occur, we can‖t predict precisely when a bus will arrive—only estimate based on normal travel times during the time of day where an estimate is occurring.
    In order to use the API, the user must sign in to their CTA Bus Tracker account and then request an API key. Only one key will be available per account. Once the request has been approved, the user will be sent an e-mail will be sent to the user containing the API key.

The request that are possible to do with the API technology

  • Delayed Vehicle – The state entered by a vehicle when it has been determined to be stationary for more than a pre-defined time period.
  • Direction – Common direction of travel of a route.
  • Off-route Vehicle – State entered by a transit vehicle when it has strayed from its scheduled
  • Pattern – A unique sequence of geo-positional points (waypoints and stops) that combine to form the path that a transit vehicle will repetitively travel. A route often has more than one possible pattern.
  • Route – One or more set of patterns that together form a single service.
  • Service Bulletin – Text-based announcements affecting a set of one or more services (route,
    stops, etc.).
  • Stop – Location where a transit vehicle can pick-up or drop-off passengers. Predictions are only generated at stops.
  • Waypoint – A geo-positional point in a pattern used to define the travel path of a transit vehicle.

The CTA state:

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation’s second largest public transportation system–a regional transit system that serves the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities. CTA provides 1.64 million rides on an average weekday, accounting for over 80% of all transit trips taken in the six-county Chicago metropolitan region.Presently, CTA service is provided by two modes: bus and rail.Most rides on CTA are taken by bus. Our bus system consists of 140 routes. Buses make over 25,000 trips daily, and serve nearly 12,000 bus stops throughout the region.

Bus routes in Chicago:



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