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PDX Bus is an award winning application that displays arrival times for public transport in Portland, Oregon.

(PDX Bus won Best in Show at the awards)

This little application uses the Internet to quickly access TriMet's live tracking data to display arrival times perfectly formatted for the iPhone. It allows you to bookmark frequently used stops, displays recently accessed stops, and gives details for arrivals which are en-route.

You can enter the stop "id" of the stop (as displayed at each stop or station) or you can browse the routes for the stop.

Feature includes:

  • Interactive rail map, showing the MAX and WES stops.
  • Embedded Google maps, showing locations of stops, and when available, the last known position of the bus or train.
  • Use GPS to locate nearby stops or rail stations.
  • Browse routes and stops, show an entire route on the map.
  • Links to TriMet route information.
  • Displays Rider Alerts, and Detours.
  • A "Nighttime visibility flasher" - a flashing screen that can be used at night so that drivers can see you. TriMet suggests holding up a cell phone to make yourself visible to bus drivers.
  • Trip Planning - now you can use the same trip planning feature that is available on TriMet's web site.
  • Specially formatted text to work with the iPhone 3GS VoiceOver accessibility feature to speak arrivals.

Route and arrival data provided by permission of TriMet.

PDX Bus 6.6 sources

I am making the sources to PDX Bus version 6.5 available as part of the Civic Apps competition. These sources were developed by me from Apple samples and documentation, except where explicitly mentioned in the code.

I am choosing to release a copy of the code under the MPL 1.1 License but I retain the copyright, which enables me to release the iPhone app under the regular Apple iPhone license (this avoids any conflict of licenses for the time being). (No outside MPL or GPL code has been incorporated into the code, some BSD License has been included, it is clearly marked).
However - this really is the exact same code that was used to build the app, and I will continue to release the code for all future releases (the method of release may change).

I regret that I probably do not have the time to answer general support questions about iPhone application development - all you need to know can be found at (You need a Mac to develop for the iPhone, you will also need to purchase a $100 membership to get a certificate to put an application on an actual device).

Because I wish to retain the sole copyright on the code, I am currently not yet collaborating on development - but this may change as I work out how open source iPhone development can work.

Of course this code can be used as a reference and in other code, but be sure to comply with the license! This code was written initially as a fun learning project for me to learn Objective-C, and has grown from there. There may be better, more efficient, cleaner, more elegent or more correct ways to do all of it, but this is what I came up with in my spare time, and it gets the job done. I am working on tidying it up to enable it to be of more use.


Things to know before building

  • PDX Bus is built with iPhone SDK 5.1 and Xcode 4.5 - available free from Apple in their Mac App store.
  • Before building this code you will need to register with TriMet to get a free "AppID" from TriMet, this is so that TriMet can track who is using their API. The AppID is placed in TriMetTypes.h as the #define TRIMET_APP_ID. Without this id the application will not work, the code will not compile until this is addressed.
  • For licensing reasons, some graphics are not included with this source (see below).
  • Other graphics are included under Creative Commons Licenses - please check the folders for the particular licenses used.
  • The data feed from Next Bus has terms and conditions (including a non-commercial clause) but does not need an application ID.
  • Yahoo Place Finder can be used to do Reverse Geo Coding on GPS coordinates.
    This also needs a free API key which is not included.
    You will need to register with Yahoo here for this to be utilized - otherwise the code will fall back to


This source distribution builds and runs, but the project will not attempt to copy any missing graphics files into the application package.
If you download the graphics from the sources below, you must enable the project to copy them into the application.

TriMet Graphics

Two graphics files were provided to me by permission of TriMet, and should be placed in the TriMet folder and then assigned to the target in the Xcode project (see below). PDX Bus will work without them, except the Rail Map will not be displayed.

  • The visittrimeticon.gif file is available from the TriMet page about linking
  • The map of the rail system, railsystem.gif, is a 2000x765 gif file made from the PDF of the rail map.
    (The size here is important for the positioning of the hotspots). The original file is available here - - I was granted special permission to use it for PDX Bus with a disclaimer - you will need to ask permission if you want to distribute it in some way. Note that I took the PDF and made the GIF file - the GIF file provided by TriMet is too small and will not work.

Enabling the project to use the graphics

Once the graphics have been downloaded and copied into place you will need to enable them in the project.

  • In the Xcode project, under Resouces you will find the Aha-Soft, TriMet and Glyphish folders. The file names will be red for any missing files.
  • For files that are not red, select them all, CTRL-Click then choose "Get Info" from the pop-up menu.
  • On the Info dialog box, click on the Targets tab, and select "PDX Bus".


Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


Change log

Version 6.6 (October 2012)

  • Fixed stop ID 13604 - added NS Line arrivals.
  • Optimized rail maps to use "tiles" - reducing crashes due to memory issues.
  • Added additional informational hotspots to streetcar map.
  • Trip planner min walk distances now match web site (1/10, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 & 2 miles).
  • Commuter bookmarks fixed (startup sequence is different in iOS6).

Version 6.5 (September 2012)

  • Full support for New Portland Streetcar Central Loop Line, including Streetcar map.
  • iOS6: Fixed crash when GPS finds no nearby stops,
  • iOS6: Fixed calendaring.
  • iOS6: Fixed orientation issues.
  • Icon has been tweaked (thanks Rob!), improved launch screens.

Version 6.4 (September 2012)

  • Added partial support for new Streetcar Loop. Full support soon!
  • New for iOS 6 - added support for transit routing from Apple's map app.
  • Full screen iPhone 5 support.
  • New retina display launch screens.
  • Dropped support for original iPhone running iOS 3.2. :-(
  • Extended URL scheme to include new keywords: "nearby", "commute", "tripplanner", "qrcode", "bookmarknumber="

Version 6.3 (September 2012)

  • Added QR code reader
  • Added new higher resolution rail map with no zones and new PSU stations
  • Added Twitter integration
  • Added XML viewer integration
  • Removed Rail Map from iOS3.1 - it crashes, low memory.
  • Updated to XCode 4.4 and fixed analysis issues.
  • Extended app URL scheme e.g. pdxbus://365 will launch PDX Bus and show stop 365. (Useful for app launchers such as 'Icon Project' or 'Launch Center Pro').
  • Trip planner allows min walking distance of 0.1 miles

Version 6.2.4 (June 2012)

  • Support for Xcode 4.3.2; still compiles and runs on original iPhone.
  • Fixed Xcode 4.3.2 analysis issues
  • Fixed VoiceOver issues with "segment controls" and buttons.
  • Changed app name to "PDX Bus" (added the space).
  • Increased size of 'X' icon to make easier to touch.
  • Caches are more robust, if the app discovers it had previously crashed it will delete all caches.
  • Fixed weak reference in background task container - this will now be cleared when the view object is dealloced - this is about 33% of crashes.
  • Added alert for when an alarm will not be able to complete in the background so the user knows to go back to PDX Bus.
  • Added short version string to budle version to allow archiving to get the version.
  • Added debug option to turn off all caching (as caching sometimes causes crashes).
  • Added Plan trip from here/to here options on the rail station screen.

Version 6.1 (November 2011)

  • Support for Xcode 4.2; still compiles and runs on original iPhone.
  • Fixed Xcode 4.2 analysis issues
  • Added Pull to Refresh code
  • Fixed issues with using Contacts with the Trip Planner in iOS5.
  • Now caches arrivals for up to two hours for devices that are not always connected.
  • Added a quick locate toolbar item to the first screen.
  • Added code to flash the LED if the hardware is available and the OS version allows.

Version 6.0.1 (August 2011)

  • Fixed locate nearby stops so that GPS cannot be left on.

Version 6.0

  • Updated PGE Park to JELD-WEN Field on the map. Go Timbers!
  • Added 'commuter bookmarks' - any bookmark can be configured to automatically display on your morning or evening commute.
  • Added a proximity alarm to alert you when you get close to a stop (iOS 4.0 and above).
  • Added an arrival alarm to alert you when a bus or train is getting close (iOS 4.0 and above).
  • Added 'Plan trip from here' option to arrival screen.
  • Arrivals have an arrow to expand the rows to include extra menu items for each stop.
  • Locate by route now allows multiple route selection.
  • Updated network error processing.
  • Added in-app settings which are the same as the Settings app settings.
  • Updated many user interface elements, including: reverse button on trip planner.
  • Bug fixes - now loads on iOS5.

Version 5.2

  • User requested changes:
    • Arrival screen now shows the scheduled time in addition to the estimated time (so you can tell if a bus is running late or early). The arrival time screen has been adjusted to make space for this (e.g. arrivals are not shown to the nearest second and a button has been removed).The find stop by location feature has been updated to be more flexible and have more options (such as showing the nearest routes and going straight to a map).
    • The "busy" screen has been updated to show what stop is being downloaded.
    • Added a very large font Bus Line identifier screen. This is intended as an alternative to the large-print book provided to partially sighted travelers to let the operator know which bus they need to board.
  • Other updates:
    • Updated the rail map to include Bike & Ride Info.
    • Added a Facebook Fan Page.
    • Added a few more retina graphics.
    • Several bug fixes and new settings (to work around a continuous refresh issue).
    • Phone will not go to sleep while showing the Night Visibility Flashing Light (user is warned).

Version 5.1

  • Updated to use TriMet's new location services API, removing the need for the stop location database (saving about 230K).
  • Added new hi-res icons for the retina display.
  • Bug fixes: e.g. fixed ability to add user-entered IDs to bookmarks.

Version 5.0

  • Trips can now be bookmarked and then re-planned with a single touch. Check out the bookmark icon in the toolbar on the trip screen. Tip: bookmark a trip from the Current Location to your home and call it "Take me home!"
  • The Trip planner user interface has a new more intuitive flow, and the map has a previous/next button to step through the trip.
  • Trips are automatically saved to a new "Recent Trips" screen and can be viewed later without a network connection.
  • Trips can be texted to other cell phone users directly from inside PDX Bus (requires an iPhone with iOS 4.0).
  • Trips can be added as events to the calendar (iOS 4.0 required).
  • Trips planned using the GPS now show the location's name instead of 'Current Location'.
  • Added 'Search rail stations' screen.
  • Rail arrivals include a colored circle to indicate the line.
  • Stops can be sorted alphabetically.
  • Recent stops now have their own screen.
  • Added up/down arrows to the rider alerts and fixed fonts sizes.
  • Settings now update instantly in iOS4; added Color Themes and made it blue by default.

Version 4.2.1

  • Stylish new icon
  • Updated attributions (including Civic App award!)
  • Minor bug fixes
  • Fixed issue with some Streetcar stops giving the wrong arrivals (e.g. Stop ID 12375).

Version 4.2

  • Support for iOS4 and fast switching between apps. Regular features are designed to work on all models of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running OS version 3.0 and above.
  • The current location "blue dot" is now shown on all maps.
  • The tip planner map now shows the actual route of the busses and trains.
  • Fixed usability issue with bookmarks - the bookmark icon can be used to edit or delete an existing bookmark was well as to add one.
  • Routes, directions and stop names are cached until the end of each day (or optionally until the end of the week). (TriMet tells me that routes only change at midnight - mostly they change weekly on Sunday but occasionally they change mid-week).
  • Multiple bug fixes and tweaks (e.g. fixed iPhone font issues introduced when adding iPad support, fixed different behavior of home button).

Version 4.1

First Open Source Version.


Andrew Wallace, October 2012.

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