Skip to content

Operational Data Standard

The Operational Data Standard (ODS) is an open standard for describing how to operate scheduled transit operations which can be used to port scheduled operations between software products (e.g. scheduling systems and CAD/AVL systems), agencies, and more. ODS leverages the existing General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and extends it to include information about personnel and non-revenue service.

View the full ODS specification.

graph LR subgraph Scheduling I[Schedules] M[Run Cutting] N[Bidding/Driver Assignment] M --> N end style Scheduling fill:#f4f1deff, stroke:#333, stroke-width:2px style I fill:#81b29aff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px style M fill:#81b29aff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px style N fill:#81b29aff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px P[GTFS Schedule] S[ODS] style P fill:#f2cc8fff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px style S fill:#f2cc8fff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px subgraph Operations R[Dispatch] end style Operations fill:#f4f1deff, stroke:#333, stroke-width:2px style R fill:#81b29aff,stroke:#333,stroke-width:2px I --> P P --> R I -->|Vehicle Blocks| M N --> S S --> R linkStyle 3 stroke:#f2cc8fff,stroke-width:4px,stroke-dasharray: 5, 5 linkStyle 4 stroke:#f2cc8fff,stroke-width:4px,stroke-dasharray: 5, 5


Transit providers need the systems they use to schedule and operate their service to be interoperable so that they have the flexibility to use various software products and exchange information with other transit operators. Interoperability is best achieved through open standards. The GTFS open standard successfully transmits information useful to transit riders, but is missing key concepts that are necessary for transit providers to operate the service. ODS fills this gap.

ODS is an open standard which extends GTFS to define additional operational details necessary to operate the service such as deadheads and runs.

Does ODS Data have to be Open data?

While GTFS data can and should be public so that riders can learn about service, ODS data is typically not published in order to preserve the privacy of internal operations data.

While the ODS standard itself is an “open standard”, this doesn’t necessitate the data described in ODS to be open.

Who uses ODS?

ODS is used by transit agencies and the software which supports them including:



Equans Navineo

The Master Scheduler

Remix by Via

Giro Hastus (on request)

MBTA (in process)

How do I implement ODS?

If you are transit agency:

  1. Talk to your current Scheduling and CAD/AVL vendors or
  2. Include a requirement to use ODS in your next procurement. The Mobility Data Interoperability Principles has sample text for adding ODS and other key interoperability features as RFP requirements in their Interoperable Procurement Resource.

If you are vendor:

  1. Review the specification and
  2. Create an development roadmap to adopting it.

Most vendors already read and write to GTFS, so this should be a marginal lift to implement.


If you use the transit Operational Data Standard in a report or article, please cite it as follows:

Operational Data Standard Working Group. 2022. Transit Operational Data Standard. Operational Data Standard Board of Directors.