Configuration and Deployment Guide for v1.x

This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive deployment method for users who wish to set up a simple OneBusAway application with minimal configurations. It is primarily intended for use cases that would need to be more permanent than just using the quick start version of OneBusAway. Unlike quick start, this solution boots with the server automatically with no additional configuration required.

Configuration and Deployment Guide Available for v2.x

The OBA master branch is now at v2.0.0-SNAPSHOT (pre-release of v2). Should you wish to deploy the pre-release version of OBA v2.x, please see the Configuration and Deployment Guide for v2.x.

Note on Software Versions

When using this guide, be certain to use the exact same versions of all software mentioned here. Any discrepancies between this guide and your actual installation will more than likely result in complicated errors and, ultimately failure. Follow the instructions exactly and there should be no issues.

Server Minimum Requirements

The minimum system requirements for your server depend on the size of the transit agency that the deployment is for. Failure to select a server with sufficient processing power and, more importantly, memory, will result in the Tomcat service, or the server itself needing a reboot several times a day. This guide is written for a small to medium sized municipal transit agency, with about 64 routes, 317 vehicles and 2414 stops. For this deployment I am using a virtual server with 2.0 GHz of processor power and 2048 MB of memory.

Server Operating System

This guide assumes the end user already knows how to set up a server (virtual or dedicated) using the Debian 9 operating system. We need to start with a clean installation of Debian 9 with no extra anything, not even the Debian desktop environment. When setting up Debian 9 using the installer, be certain not to install any additional components except for the SSH server and standard system utilities. You can probably get away with including more on the server but this guide is written with a clean, lightweight server environment in mind and making your server the same will help insure success. Also, the less that is running on the server, the more resources available for OneBusAway. You will need access to the root user to follow this guide. All commands are executed as the root user.

Installing Required Software

Before performing these steps, make sure Debian’s Software Repository is up to date. To do this, run this command. apt-get update

Using Debian 9, the following software must be installed:

OpenJDK Runtime Environment 8

This is the open source version of the Java 8 JDK Runtime Environment. To install it run the following command:

apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk

Tomcat 8

This software is used to serve the OneBusAway web application. To install it run the following command:

apt-get install tomcat8

MySQL Server

The MySQL Server is used to store OneBusAway user data and API keys. Since Debian no longer has MySQL in its application repository as of Debian 9, it is a little more complicated to install. To install it, run the following commands:

cd ~


apt-get install gdebi-core

gdebi mysql-apt-config_0.8.6-1_all.deb

apt-get update

apt-get install mysql-server

During the install process, you will be prompted to create a password for the root MySQL user. Make sure to take note of the password you set because it will be needed later.

Acquiring the Binaries

Now that all of the required supporting software is installed, we must either download the binaries from OneBusAway or we must compile and build the binaries from the source code.

Compile and Build the Binaries

It is recommended that you do not attempt to compile and download the binaries if you are not going to make any changes to OneBusAway’s source code. If you just want to install it, skip this and proceed to the Download the Binaries step.

If you are keen to make changes to the source code of OBA, please see the Build and Compile Guide for v1.x.

Please note: If you build the binaries instead of downloading them, the paths in the remaining commands in this guide may vary from the actual locations of the built binaries. You will need to adjust the paths in the commands accordingly.

Download the Binaries

You can download pre-compiled binaries for OneBusAway from: If you wish to browse the repository to hand pick the version you want to use, make sure to download both the onebusaway-combined-webapp and onebusaway-transit-data-federation-builder files that resulted from the same version build. This can be determined based on the name of the directory which reflects the respective version name of the build (e.g. 1.1.18) that each individual jar or war files are located in. Note: Some versions of OBA are not compatible with Tomcat 8 and Java 8, you may need to use an older OS and older version of Java.

If you do not care about versions, go for the latest by downloading them with the following commands:

mkdir oba

cd /oba



Download the Transit GTFS Data From the Transit Agency

Next we need to download the GTFS Data from the transit agency. With this data we can build the Transit Data Bundle that OneBusAway will use as a data source. To do this run the following commands in sequence:

cd /oba


In the proceeding command, replace with the full URL of the GTFS from your respective transit agency. Take note of the actual file name being downloaded, as it will be needed later.

Build the Transit Data Bundle

Now it is time to build the Transit Data Bundle that OneBusAway will use to display route and schedule information. To do this run the following command:

mkdir /oba/gtfs

cd /oba

java -jar -Xss4m -Xmx1g onebusaway-transit-data-federation-builder-1.1.18-withAllDependencies.jar /oba/ /oba/gtfs

In the above command, replace with the name of the GTFS data file that was downloaded earlier. The extension of the file should end with .zip. This process will take a while to run. When it is complete you should see “Shutting down EHCache CacheManager” with no major errors before it.

Download the MySQL Connector Java Library

Next we need the MySQL Connector Java Library. This will allow OneBusAway to use the MySQL database. You can download the library from To do this, run the following commands in sequence:

cd /oba


tar -zxvf mysql-connector-java-5.1.46.tar.gz

mv mysql-connector-java-5.1.46/mysql-connector-java-5.1.46-bin.jar .

rm -rf mysql-connector-java-5.1.46.tar.gz

rm -rf mysql-connector-java-5.1.46

Create the MySQL Database

Now we are going to create the database that OneBusAway will use to store user and API data. To do this run the following command:

mysql -p -e "CREATE DATABASE oba; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON oba.* TO 'oba'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'newPassword';"

In the above command, replace newPassword with something secure. This will be the password for the MySQL user oba who will only have access to the database oba. When prompted for a password, enter the password of the MySQL root user that you set while installing MySQL.

Stop the Tomcat 8 Service

To prepare for deployment, we need to stop the Tomcat 8 service. To do this run the following command:

service tomcat8 stop

Copy the Web Application Resource Files into Tomcat

Next we need to copy the Web Application Resource file into Tomcat’s webapps directory. To do this run the following commands in sequence:

cd /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps/ROOT

rm -rf *

mv /oba/onebusaway-combined-webapp-1.1.18-full.war ./ROOT.war

jar xvf ROOT.war

Move the MySQL Connector Java Library

To allow OneBusAway to use MySQL we need to copy the library we previously downloaded to a directory where OBA can access it.

cd /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/lib

mv /oba/mysql-connector-java-5.1.46-bin.jar .

Create the Configuration File

Now we need to create a configuration file that OneBusAway will use to reference the various data sources it requires to operate. To do this run the following command:

nano /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/classes/data-sources.xml

Once in the editor add the following text:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""

    <!-- Database Connection Configuration -->
    <bean id="dataSource" class="org.springframework.jdbc.datasource.DriverManagerDataSource">
        <property name="driverClassName" value="com.mysql.jdbc.Driver" />
        <property name="url" value="jdbc:mysql://" />
        <property name="username" value="oba" />
        <property name="password" value="newPassword" />

    <bean class="org.onebusaway.container.spring.SystemPropertyOverrideConfigurer">
        <property name="order" value="-2" />
        <property name="properties">
                <prop key="bundlePath">/oba/gtfs</prop>

    <bean class="org.onebusaway.transit_data_federation.impl.realtime.gtfs_realtime.GtfsRealtimeSource">
      <property name="tripUpdatesUrl" value="" />
      <!-- Optionally set the Vehicle Positions endpoint -->
      <property name="vehiclePositionsUrl" value="" />
      <!-- Optionally set the Service Alerts endpoint -->
      <property name="alertsUrl" value="" />
      <!-- Optionally set the refresh interval - how often we query the URLs, in seconds (default=30) -->
      <property name="refreshInterval" value="10"/>
      <!-- Optionally configure the agency id we use to match incoming real-time data to your GTFS data -->
      <property name="agencyId" value="MyAgency" />

    <bean class="org.onebusaway.container.spring.PropertyOverrideConfigurer">
        <property name="properties">
                <prop key="cacheManager.cacheManagerName">org.onebusaway.transit_data_federation_webapp.cacheManager</prop>
                <prop key="defaultWebappConfigurationSource.googleMapsApiKey">YOUR-GOOGLE-MAPS-API-KEY</prop>

In the above XML code you will need to replace newPassword in the SQL settings with the password you chose for the oba user. You will also need to set the URLs of the GTFS real-time data feeds to that of your transit agency. Next, set an ID for the transit agency by replacing MyAgency. Finally, if you plan to have your OBA instance served from a domain name or public IP address you will need to generate a Google Maps API key and replace YOUR-GOOGLE-MAPS-API-KEY. Information about how to generate a Google Maps API key can be found at

Configure Tomcat to use More Memory

By default Tomcat uses a very small amount of memory. Usually this is not enough memory to run OneBusAway. To fix this run the following commands:

nano /etc/default/tomcat8

Change the line that says -Djava.awt.headless=true -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC to JAVA_OPTS="-Djava.awt.headless=true -Xss4m -Xmx2g -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC"

Note the Xmx variable. This variable is used to indicate to Tomcat exactly how much memory it is allowed to use. You may need to tweak this variable dependent on the size of the transit agency. Also note the Xss variable. This variable is used to indciate to Tomcat the maximum stack size it is allowed to have. You may also need to tweak this variable dependent on the size of the transit agency.

Start the Tomcat8 Service

Finally we can start the Tomcat8 Service to see if everything worked. In a second SSH window you may want to run the following command so that you can watch the output of the Tomcat8 service as OneBusAway starts up for the first time:

tail -f /var/log/tomcat8/catalina.out

To actually start the Tomcat8 Service simply run this command:

service tomcat8 start

Visit Your OneBusAway Installation from a Web Browser

Now point your favourite web browser to —replacing the domain name with your server’s host name or IP address, making sure to preserve the port number at the end. Once loaded on the browser OneBusAway will prompt you to set up an administrator account. Fill out the form. Once the account set up is complete you will see a page telling you how to customize the site itself. If you want to jump right into the data you can do so by visiting —once again replacing the domain name as appropriate.