Public transport in Melbourne

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Background

On 22 February 2010, Metlink, an agency of the Victorian Department of Transport, published detailed data for all tram, bus and train stops in Victoria under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence. The data was published on the http://data.vic.gov.au website, which was set up following a recommendation that the Victorian Government release certain public sector information (PSI) datasets under a Creative Commons licence.

Note: As of 4 March 2010, the licence on the data has been changed to the far more restrictive Transport Licence Terms. Google has a cached version of the original release. According to the Creative Commons FAQ: "Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work."

Data available

The data is provided as a CSV (Comma Seperated Values) file. It was published on 22-02-2010, and is noted as having temporal coverage for 25-02-2010 to 26-05-2010.

There are 25,878 records.

Data fields contained in the file

  • Metlink Stop ID: A unique five-digit identifier for each stop in the database. These IDs are displayed on bus stops, but tram stops display the TramTracker ID instead.
  • Stop Mode: This is the transport mode used at the stop.
    • 1 = Melbourne bus stop
    • 2 = Melbourne train station (Metro)
    • 3 = Melbourne tram stop (Yarra Trams)
    • 4 = regional bus stop
    • 5 = regional train station (V/Line)
    • 6 = also seems to be regional bus stops
    • 8 = this appears to a single bus stop in Torquay
  • Cross Street Name and Cross Street Type: These are the nearest junction roads intersecting with the street of travel. They are often announced as the stop name where there is no other landmark. See also Flag Name.
  • Travel Street Name and Travel Street Type: This is the name and type of the street on which the transport vehicle travels, or for train stations the street address of the station.
  • Stop Landmark: Major landmarks near the stop. This is usually announced as the stop name if it exists.
  • Suburb ID: An integer ID of the suburb. There appears to be no lookup table of which ID corresponds to which suburb, but OSM has all the Victorian state suburb boundaries so this can be derived from those.
  • Melways Map, Melways Col, Melways Row: The still widely-used (in Melbourne) Melways street directory map numbers and grid co-ordinates. As we have the lat/long co-ordinates we do not need to import these, and there may also be copyright issues.
  • Stop Type: Stops are categorised in four different ways:
    • bus bay = a bay inset into the kerb so that buses (only) can pull into the side of the road to pick up/drop off passengers without obstructing traffic
    • kerbside = tram/bus stop located on the side of the road, usually on the footpath
    • platform = Tram "Super Stops", mostly located in the Melbourne CBD, these usually have platforms, ticket machines, and sometimes customer assistance staff
    • safety zone = tram stop is located in the centre of the road, but is usually protected from traffic by a "safety zone" consisting of a fence and the famous "yellow bollards". There will usually be traffic signals nearby so passengers can cross to the safety zone.
  • Bus Bay Indicator number where several bus bays exist in the one location, usually a transport hub such as a shopping centre or bus station.
  • GPS Lat and GPS Long: Geographical location of the stop in four decimal point detail. The ones I've checked appear to be very accurate to sub-metre level.
  • Stop Number: The number ID of the stop.
  • Primary Flag Name and Secondary Flag Name: The announced name of the stop, which also appears on the stop sign and the TramTracker screen. Usually matches the landmark and travel street, or the cross street and travel street if there is no landmark listed.
  • Station Name: The name of the train station.
  • Stop Spec Name: The Primary Flag Name and the Stop Number.
  • TramTracker ID: A unique four digit identifier for tram stops. Yarra Trams provides an API which returns the estimated arrival time of the next tram(s) at the stop for which the TramTracker ID is submitted.

Issues

Name consistency and rendering

Whether or not this is "tagging for the renderer", a consistent schema needs to be worked out for tram and bus stops. In particular, the data in the name=* field, for which a variety of data exists which could populate this field, and which has been used inconsistently by different editors.

Apart from the Melways reference, all data included will be imported as "metlink:" tags.

Stop ID as name

Tram stops entered in OSM so far have generally included the stop number as part of the name, but a variety of other information is entered in this field. Some examples of the different formats are:

  • name=Stop 18 (contains the word "Stop" and the stop number)
  • name=18 (no "Stop" in the name, just the stop number)
  • name=Stop 18 (northbound) (contains a direction of travel (north, south, east, west) for the vehicle passing the stop)
  • name=18 (in or name=18 (inbound (contains a direction of travel (inbound or outbound) in relation to the Melbourne CBD)
  • name=20 - Abbotsford Road Interchange (contains the stop number and the Primary Flag Name)

Route and direction

The Metlink data does not contain any indicator of the routes which make use of the stop, nor does it indicate the direction of travel.

Most of the tram routes and railway lines, and possibly some bus routes have been entered as route relations. If stops are added as nodes independent of the route way, they still be added to the relevent route relations.

Duplication of existing nodes

Several tram routes have stop information as nodes on the route way. As this data will produce seperate stops for both directions of travel, the existing data will need to be removed anyway.

Some small pockets of bus stops have been entered, but these can be noted and the import not carried out in those areas, or they can be noted for extra duplicate checking.