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I am developing a transit webapp using Google Transit, while referring to documentation, i see two different datasets (trips.txt and routes.txt) but i can't clarify the difference between them.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Transit routes. A route is a group of trips that are displayed to riders as a single service. (The entire route)

GTFS Routes are equivalent to "Lines" in public transportation systems. Routes are defined in the file routes.txt, and are made up of one or more Trips - remember that a Trip occurs at a specific time and so a Route is time independent.

trips (trips.txt) are individual components of routes (routes.txt)

example - there maybe many trips to 1 route

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Here's the documentation from Google:

In this model, a "trip" occurs along a "route". I think the simplest difference can been seen in the fact that a "route" has no directionality, it's just a line along which a transit vehicle travels. So if you look only at the route, you don't know which direction along the line anything is travelling: you need a "trip" to know that.

I guess you could say that a "route" exists on the ground. And a "trip" is what happens when the transit vehicle travels on along the route.

(note I had to use the word "when" in that last sentence... which indicates that a "trip" extends a "route" with some time information)

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If you are travelling say from Point A to B, then a) Travelling from point A to B makes a TRIP. b) Travelling from point A to B and back to A again makes a ROUTE. The word ROUTE is normally used when you are travelling through intermediate stop points eg from point A through B, C, D, E etc and back to A again.

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Please use references when possible to verify the content of your answer. – MaryBeth Jan 4 at 16:11
That's not what the GTFS documentation says. (See @Mapperz's answer) – Fábio Dias Feb 7 at 18:25

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