Tagged: KML

After the Silver Line, the region’s next big transit project will be the Purple Line. The MTA is aiming for completion in 2020. I’ve modified my animated KML for the Metrorail system to include the Purple Line:

You will need Google Earth to view the KML file. When it opens, click on the tiny “play” button on the time slider that appears over the map. An easy way to zoom to the Purple Line is to double-click its entry in the Places navigation panel. First open the entry for “Metro with Purple and Silver Lines,” then open the “Lines” folder, and you’ll see entries for each line.

Though the Purple Line route isn’t 100% finalized yet, I used the most likely route. Like the other lines, I connect stations with straight lines, so the exact route has been simplified. And while the route will be integrated with Metro’s existing system, it will implement light rail rather than heavy rail, which always has right-of-way, going under or over other traffic. The four stations where it connects with the Red, Green, and Orange lines will probably be near but not physically within the existing Metrorail stations. But for the sake of simplicity, the map uses the Metrorail stations as the locations for those four stations. They are planning for 6-minute headways between trains, so the animation reflects that frequency.

For a map of just the Silver Line addition, see Visualizing the Silver Line, and for only the existing 5 lines, see Animating Metro with KML and Google Earth.

Animating Metro’s Purple Line

Transit lovers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first phase of the Silver Line, the Metro extension from West Falls Church to Dulles Airport. Rather than wait till 2013 for the first phase to open (to Tysons Corner), and till 2016 for the second phase, we can use Google Earth to simulate a functioning Silver Line.

I expanded my KML model of the WMATA Metrorail system to include the 11 new stations on the Silver Line (see Animating Metro with KML and Google Earth). Since the GTFS data doesn’t include Silver Line scheduling information, I had to create my own timetables. The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project web site says peak service will be every 7 minutes, but doesn’t specify non-peak service. I made my model show trains that start their runs in the morning, up to 6:30am, using the optimistic 7-minute headway. I also made every 3rd Blue Line train take the “Blue Line Split,” where it switches to the Yellow Line tracks after the Pentagon, leaving room for the Silver Line trains to run from Rosslyn to RFK Stadium. » Continue Reading…

Visualizing the Silver Line

Having transit data available allows us to play and experiment. I wanted to take WMATA‘s Metrorail data to animate a day in the life of Washington, DC’s rail system. I chose Google Earth to display the data.

The challenge was to manipulate WMATA’s data into a format that’s accepted by Google Earth, and accurate and interesting. The WMATA data is posted according to the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS, née Google Transit Feed Specification), which is a comma-separated values format (CSV). Meanwhile, Google Earth needs data in the KML format (Keyhole Markup Language). KML is a type of XML, meaning that it’s a hierarchical listing of tags describing the content. » Continue Reading…