Purchase and Download Transit Explorer 2 Data

Transit Explorer

The Transit Explorer 2 database provides information on all existing, under construction, and planned fixed-guideway transit routes in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of North America, as well as a large number of closed lines. Geospatial data are now available for download in CSV, GeoJson, and Shapefile formats.

Click the below button to pay on Stripe. Once you pay, the latest data will be emailed to you.

The data are comprehensive and detailed (last updated August 6, 2020), providing information that other databases lack, including a large number of proposed and closed lines.

What’s included?

All existing and under-construction fixed-guideway urban rail and bus routes in North America are included (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Cuba). Stations and lines location and related data are provided for all existing and under-construction transit. Data contents include:

  • Stations and lines
    • ~5700 existing stations, ~700 under-construction stations, ~800 closed stations, and ~800 planned and proposed stations.
    • ~1100 existing lines and ~100 under-construction lines
  • Mode
    • Including bus rapid transit, heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, light metro, aerial tram, streetcar, interurban and arterial rapid transit. Data indicate whether lines are automated.
  • Region
    • Location, e.g., New York, Mexico City, etc.
    • 85 regions in the U.S.; 12 in Canada; 8 in Mexico; and 5 in other countries.
  • Year opened
    • Available for 93% of existing stations.
    • Available for 62% of existing lines.
  • Grade
    • The type of service, indicated both for station and lines.
    • Categorized as at-grade; subway; elevated; open-cut; or along a highway.
  • Construction period
    • Available for 120 existing lines.
    • Available for ~100 under-construction lines.
  • Construction costs
    • Total construction costs, according to project sponsor.
    • Available for 115 existing lines.
    • Available for 85 under-construction lines.
  • Estimated riders
    • Estimate of ridership before project opening. Available for 122 lines.
  • Federal capital grants
    • Available for all projects that have received support under the U.S. federal capital grant program. Includes date grant finalized; project cost at time of finalization; federal share under this program.
    • Available for 65 existing lines and 42 under-construction lines.

The database also includes a large database of ~240 proposed and planned transit lines and stations. These are facilities for which governmental entities have conducted significant planning, but have not yet entered into construction.

Examples include projects such as New York City’s Second Avenue Subway project to 125th Street, and the Sepulveda Pass Corridor in Los Angeles.

Historical data

The Transit Explorer 2 database also includes a large number of closed lines and stations, thanks to a number of sources, including Alexander Rapp’s transit line timelines. For these, where available, the data include year closed. Data are provided for the closed elevated lines (and stations) in Boston, Chicago, and New York, as well as the historic streetcar networks of more than a dozen cities. Modern lines that were subsequently closed—including St. Louis’ Loop Trolley and San Jose’s Almaden Line—are also included.

Finally, the database includes transit projects that were planned, but were then cancelled due to political changes or budgetary constraints. Examples of such projects include the San Francisco BART’s extension into Marin County and Chicago’s Ashland Avenue bus rapid transit line.

Where can I check the reliability of the data?

Most data provided with the download is also displayed graphically on Transit Explorer 2.

What formats?

Data are provided in Shapefile, GeoJSON, and CSV formats, and can be opened using ArcGIS, QGIS, R, and other geospatial analysis applications (the CSV files can be opened using Excel or similar applications). Additional information, including rules related to data use, is provided in a read me/data dictionary file attached to the data.

Use cases

Data can be used for a variety of research projects. Here are two examples:

  1. Find real-estate opportunities. Using the database’s information on new transit lines that are under construction, planned, or proposed, researchers can identify neighborhoods throughout North America that are getting new access to high-performing transit in the coming years, and that might be ripe for new investment. Overlay with zoning to find the next hot residential development location.
  2. Identifying the performance of recently constructed light-rail lines. Researchers can select all light-rail stations in the United States, and overlay data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the population density of surrounding neighborhoods. In so doing, researchers can make assessments about how regions differ in ensuring that transit investments are built in highly populated neighborhoods.

Data download

To purchase the data: Click on the below button. Once you pay, the latest data will be emailed to you.

Please contact Yonah Freemark—yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic.com—with any questions or concerns.

Interested in commercial use?

The data provided in the above link is for individual use. For commercial use, please contact Yonah Freemark directly, at yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic.com

How does Transit Explorer 2 data compare to other sources?

Several other resources provide information related to transit stations and lines, but they do not provide the same information as Transit Explorer 2. Neither provides information for (a) systems outside the U.S.; (b) closed lines; (c) line and station grade; or (d) project costs. Nor are they up to date, as is Transit Explorer 2.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s National Transit-Oriented Development Database offers demographic information related to existing and proposed stations around the country. These data were last updated in 2012. No information is provided about lines, nor about station grade or costs (e.g. elevated or subway). The information is available for the U.S. only.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics’s National Transit Map provides information based on transit agencies’ GTFS data. No information is provided about station grade, project opening, costs. These data were last updated in 2018. The information is available for the U.S. only.

The Site / The Fight

  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
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