October 17, 2023 9:10 am

The 2023 MobilityData North American Workshop: Highlights from Day One

The first day of the 2023 MobilityData North American Workshop began with a MobilityData presentation, refreshing attendees about our mission, vision, and work, as well as some highlights to expect throughout the day. Set against the backdrop of a sunny New York City, within TransitCenter’s open floor plan office, the group was energized and excited to get right to work.

Session 1.A: GTFS Governance Part 1

In ths interactive workshop, we were joined by participants who had a collective goal: identifying the major pain points that had been hindering the adoption process. We formed small groups, with the task of mapping the current amendment process and uncovering the roadblocks that had been impeding the implementation phase. We discussed the difficulties people have getting involved and trusting the governance process, as well as ideas for how we can make the entire process more efficient for everybody. It was an immensely collaborative and interactive atmosphere.

Key takeaways:

  • Many pain points and solutions echoed the pain points brought up in the European Workshop.

Session 1.B: Maximizing the Potential of the GBFS Validator

The GBFS Validator has been gaining traction in recent months and our team would like to make it as useful and valuable as possible for all the users. Together in this workshop session, we decided on the features that would form the next iteration of improvements. We tackled some quick wins. This workshop was open to all individuals, irrespective of their technical background. It was a collaborative effort, where we united to ensure that the GBFS Validator evolved to meet the needs of its diverse user base.

Key takeaways:

  • The North American workshop confirmed the priorities identified in the European workshop to improve feed validation.
  • The need for a validation API, a human-friendly validation report and custom requirements have been reinforced.
  • It was important to be able to capture the validity of a feed and share the validation report.
  • The presence of producers, consumers and a national access point at the workshop generated highly productive conversations and is a good representation of the ecosystem.

After an interactive lunch and networking session, we offered the attendees to engage in a “fireside chat” lead by our Director of Partnerships, Gretchen Newcomb. With Jana Lynott from AARP and Kevin Chambers from Fullpath, participants discussed how GTFS is used to serve marginalized populations through on-demand, Universal Basic Mobility, while sharing use cases happening today. Discussions also focused on the impact of NTD migration on quality and completeness of GTFS in the ecosystem.

Session 2.A: Governance Part 2

A continuation of the morning’s governance session, attendees continued the work done in part one by contributing actionable solutions to the highlighted pain points. Yet again, participants worked in small groups, providing knowledge from their experiences. The end result was actionable solutions presented to the whole group. The participants suggested a revamp of the current voting process. More than that, some groups agreed on a GTFS email digest that highlighted things to come to keep stakeholders up to date on upcoming changes and ongoing projects.

Key takeaways:

  • We need to include what happens before a change is proposed in the spec amendment process and have more organizations represented in this stage.

Session 2.B: Staying in Touch: Creating a Shared Vision for the GBFS Issue Tracker

After a captivating discussion on validating datasets in the morning sessions, this was all about pondering questions that demanded answers. How could we effectively communicate information about data quality back to the data producers? Were our flags being received, or had someone else already flagged the same issues?

As a group, we took a look at existing GBFS issue trackers and decided if and how we, as a community, can ensure the best GBFS datasets are in circulation.

Key takeaways:

  • Flagging a data quality issue is one thing, but that is not useful if we don’t know who to contact.

The day ended on an incredibly high note, with lots of discussions continuing into the evening at the happy hour. We had one last networking session at Stone Street Tavern to close out the day.

We’ll see you tomorrow for the day two recap!