Another Major Transit Agency Goes Open Source

As reported in the Washington Post, WMATA has adopted OneBusAway - an enterprise open source package for real-time information delivery - as its new platform for delivering real-time information to Metrobus riders.  Washington DC joins New York City, Tampa, and the Seattle/Puget Sound region as the largest OneBusAway deployments in the US.

This represents yet another major acknowledgement by US transportation agencies that open source solutions provide a high-quality, high-value alternative to proprietary commercial solutions.   Real-time information, mobility and trip planning, asset management/capital planning, and even activity-based travel demand forecasting are now supported by powerful, secure, cloud-hosted open source solutions.  Even more significantly, the agencies who participate in and support these open source solutions are recognizing several major benefits:

  • Improvements to the software made on behalf of one agency can be freely leveraged by other agencies, maximizing the value of these investments and supporting coordinated investment strategies that benefit the entire industry.
  • Every agency retains complete control over their own system and environment, maintaining the flexibility to develop, improve, and host their own systems in a variety of environments (in-house or cloud hosted) and the freedom to maintain and enhance the software in-house, or to from a variety of qualified vendors to provide these services.
  • No software license fees (up front, nor ongoing), and no limits on usage.

Has your agency considered open source solutions?  Have you adopted them, and if so, what was your experience?  Please post your thoughts and ideas.


This piece originally was posted to LinkedIn