Visualising city bus routes from open data

Understanding public transport networks in developing cities can be very challenging and the Department for International Development wants to make it easier to use open data to visualise and better understand the extent of public transport networks. 

ITP is developing a prototype visualisation tool which produces interactive maps that illustrate the public transport services available in different areas of cities by aggregating timetable data. The tool builds upon previous data science research carried out by ITP to link public transport data and local road mapping in GTFS and OpenStreetMap formats. It uses a machine-learning process that replaces labour intensive data preparation. The resulting analysis tool will empower local governments to understand complex datasets for themselves, by identifying bottlenecks in local transport corridors and visualising where services are congested, or where neighbourhoods are poorly served. An interactive tool is particularly important for this type of work, as authorities in developing cities or regional funding bodies may not have resources to carry out detailed GIS work and transport modelling alone. The knowledge the tool provides can help to plan better public transport systems by making the case for consolidating, rerouting or upgrading services. 

Web Tool

Through 2019 ITP will be user testing the software with its partners in local transport authorities and in development banks to understand how to maximise the value of the tool. For more information on ITP’s data tools research and development please contact Mark Dimond ( or click here.