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Transport for the North plans open data hub



Regional transport authority aims to emulate London’s lead in opening data to encourage app developers

Transport for the North (TfN) is making plans for an open data hub to enable developers to create new digital services to support public transport in the north of England.

It has highlighted the plan as one of two elements of a procurement notice, the other being to provide software for disruption messages.

They come under TfN’s Integrated and Smart Travel (IST) Programme, which includes a tranche on “customer information, collaboration and innovation activities”.

The plan for an open data hub follows the precedent set by Transport for London, which has made the provision of open data for third party app developers a central element of its information strategy. It has claimed this is adding £130 million to London’s economy.

One of the lots in the TfN procurement notice is aimed at finding a managed service provider for at least two years to build the open data hub, linking developers and open data users around the North. It has placed an estimated value of £500,000 on the service.

The other lot is for a disruption messaging platform to be used by local transport authorities in the region. This has been valued at £700,000 over 12 months.

TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan, which is currently under consultation, includes a commitment to using digital and data tools for stronger traffic management. It refers to big data, smart infrastructure and the internet of things as technologies that could help to improve public transport in the region.

Image: Piccadilly Station, Manchester by Abhijit Tembhekar, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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