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DfT plans for Bus Open Data service



Project to include development of portal and support third party app developers

The Department for Transport (DfT) is working on a new Bus Open Data service to provide scope for developers to create new passenger information services.

It is making plans for the alpha phase of the project – set to run for 12 weeks with four weeks service assessment by the Government Digital Service – and is aiming to create a portal for operators to use in indexing the data.

The department’s Buses and Taxis Division is currently in the market for support on the project, that will involve working with representatives from the bus industry, local authorities and other users.

The move follows the passing last year of the Bus Services Act, which requires bus companies to publish information on routes, fares, timetables and delays as open data, and could provide the scope for the development of more apps and information services for bus users.

TfL lead

Transport for London has been a leader in the field, claiming that its provision of open data has added up to £130 million a year to the capital’s economy, although there has also been progress in other cities such as Bristol, where the city council has opened up a public transport API.

The DfT has indicated that the new service will include data on routes and timetables, fares and ticketing, real time information and punctuality information, and that the portal will enable bus operators to index links to data files. Third party developers will then be able to access the data.

Its requirements for the portal include that it can be used to develop and test prototypes or wireframes through user experience research, build upon the user personas and mobilise the bus industry and open data community to share technical knowledge and expertise. It also wants to identify what will be needed for the beta phase of the project.

Image by Aubrey Morandarte, Guildford, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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