Board approves open data policy to make agency gold standard for transparency


Board approves open data policy to make agency gold standard for transparency

10/27/16 Update

On October 27, 2016 the Board unanimously voted to approve the policy.  The Board asked staff to report back at the beginning of 2017 with a implementation road map and a breakdown of budget requirements. You may view the original draft policy at 

We will post the final version here once edits have been made.

View the staff presentation to the Board


Proposed open data policy could make agency gold standard for transparency

To streamline information delivery processes, BART has coordinated with the Sunlight Foundation to draft an open data policy designed to make the agency the gold standard for data accountability in local government.

The policy would lead to the creation of an online portal, through which citizen activists, third party innovators, and media outlets could access the enormous amount of raw social science statistics BART produces. If approved, machine-readable data on salaries, contracts, spending, geospatial information, web analytics, ridership, crime, and much more would be made available to the public at no cost.

Furthermore, streamlining data delivery for the procurement process could have the effect of increasing competition, thereby driving down costs to taxpayers.

“A common complaint against government is its lack of responsiveness to those seeking access to its knowledge base,” said BART Boardmember Nick Josefowitz. “Now is the time to leverage 21st century tools to the public’s benefit, and we are excited to see BART lead the way.”

BART has been a trailblazer in data sharing before – it was the second transit agency in the world and first in California to share General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) schedules for integration with Google Maps in 2007. Since then, we have shared information on a wide variety of subjects – though the data is scattered and inaccessible across and internal databases. Even so, BART APIs are on track to handle over a billion calls during 2016.

A first reading of the policy and an explanation of its benefits will be presented to the Board of Directors on Thursday, October 13 during their regular 9 am bimonthly meeting.  The public is encouraged to weigh in online at The policy is expected to earn approval among data sharing and government accountability groups, and will be an ongoing project.

As such, the fiscal impact to BART will vary. If implemented, the policy is projected to cost $250,000 during FY 2018.