Bay Area’s 511 system adds new data features to improve transit transfers

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MTC’s 511 SF Bay – the free regional traveler information system available on the Web at and by phone at 511 — this month expanded its menu of public transit information by adding a new data feature known as Pathways that delivers detailed directions for navigating rail stations and other transit hubs to all travelers, including those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

Pathways is designed to help all riders receive more precise calculations about travel/transfer times in their travel itineraries. For example, a passenger in a wheelchair transferring from BART to MUNI light rail at the Embarcadero station can now get directions to the elevator on the BART platform up to the mezzanine level and then directions to the elevator down to the MUNI light rail platform. Similarly, a rider who transfers from Caltrain to BART or vice-versa at the Millbrae station can now benefit from Pathways data for better calculation of the time needed to move from one platform to the other.

511 SF Bay also has added more detailed fare data, including transfer discounts as well as variations based on the use of cash, Clipper, passes, etc. If used by the traveler’s preferred trip planner, this data will give riders more precise fare calculations for trips across multiple services. A passenger transferring from BART to Dumbarton Express at the Union City BART station, for instance, will learn about the 25-cent discount available for this transfer.

511 SF Bay is the first 511 system in the nation to produce detailed fares data across multiple transit services in a consolidated regional data feed using the Fares 2.0 data specification. Detailed fare information is now available for all major Bay Area transit agencies, with data for the region’s smaller transit operators to be added in the months ahead.

The addition of the Pathways and Fares 2.0 information reflects the growing use of 511 SF Bay’s Open Data Program, which delivers information free of charge to third-party data consumers. Requests by external customers for transit schedules, real-time departures, and other data available through the portal has more than doubled over the past year.

Interested data consumers can learn more about the consolidated regional transit data feed and other data services provided by MTC’s 511 SF Bay program from the open data portal. The portal provides information on how to submit a request for data access and technical details on all data services. Additional technical information is available in this blog.

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