The Department for Transport (DfT) has made £4 million available for the development of a new digital platform to support rural bus services.
It will enable developers to use information from GPS trackers, which are now fitted on an estimated 97% of buses, to provide new information apps for passengers.
Consultancy KPMG and transport specialist ITO-World have been appointed to design and build the system, although the intellectual property will belong the Government.
It is scheduled to go live in 2020, when regulations on making bus information available as open data come into force as part of the Bus Services Act.
Real time data from bus operators will be provided through APIs and app developers will have free access once they have registered for a free account.
Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “People expect to turn up to a bus stop knowing when their next service will arrive, particularly in rural areas.
“We’re investing in systems to make it easier for people to find out where their bus is, how much it will cost and how long it will take. This will save the time people waste waiting, give more people certainty over services and help increase passenger numbers.
“It could help revolutionise bus travel and move us one step closer to mobility-as-a-service and on-demand public transport systems.”
The move has emerged as one of the DfT’s responses to a consultation it launched last year n the use of real time information on buses in England. It also reflects an element of the recently published Future of Urban Mobility Strategy, which covers how people will use transport in the future and how new technology can improve transport services.
Image by Michel Curi, CC BY 2.0