Oregon’s public transportation system receives grant to enhance online trip planning

Feb. 25, 2021
Oregon, California and Washington are working to improve online access to public transportation.

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded Oregon, Washington and California a $5.3-million ITS4US grant to help travelers in the three states plan and book public transit trips.  

For some, it can be easy to use an online trip planning tool when talking about fixed-route buses operating on a regular schedule; most transit districts in Oregon and elsewhere have tools for that. But for residents in a rural area without regular service, or those who use a mobility device and need an accessible ride, it can be difficult to schedule and book trips.  

“Currently, many of our transit riders can’t use an online trip planning tool, and that’s going to change,” said Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT )Public Transportation Manager Marsha Hoskins. “With this grant, we’ll make progress toward ensuring trip planning tools are fully available to people no matter where they live, no matter what their circumstance.” 

Right now, online trip planning tools or apps typically don’t have the vital information needed to plan, book and pay for special transit services. A large group of partners got together to improve those options. The resulting grant is being administered by the California Association for Coordinated Transportation (CALACT), and the partners in the effort include ODOT, Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Caltrans, Google, Trillium Solutions and many other for-profit, non-profit and governmental organizations. The project, called “Plan, book and pay for demand-responsive transit agencies in CA, OR and WA,” is kicked off Feb. 24 and will continue through 2025. 


Since the development of General Transit Feed Specifications (GTFS) and Google Transit trip planner more than a decade ago, online and mobile trip planning tools for fixed-route transit have proliferated. More than half of the fixed-route transit agencies in the U.S. publish GTFS, which is used by the U.S. Department of Transportation, many state transportation departments, academic researchers, regional planners and hundreds of consumer applications. Thousands of transit systems publish GTFS data globallyHowever, most trip planners based on GTFS only represent fixed-route transit and don’t provide information about the accessibility of transit services. 

The Complete Trip - ITS4US Deployment Program is funding 24 proposals from 15 states; Oregon joined with California and Washington in submitting the successful proposal.