UK passengers could be set to benefit from improved access to digital apps and sites to help plan, pay and access the transport system following the release of the government’s Transport Data Strategy.
The Transport Data Strategy sets out plans for the greater use of data in transport and aims to improve how people find, use and get value from transport data to support greater innovation in the sector and deliver better services.
According to the UK Department for Transport (DfT), better use of transport data use can improve interconnectivity between different types of transport, support the development of journey-planning apps and improve their accuracy, ultimately helping to make it easier for people to use and plan journeys.
Data can also help unlock additional benefits, such as new products and services for customers, while supporting employment opportunities in the transport sector, said UK transport technology minister Jesse Norman.
“Better use of transport data will help to improve journeys for travellers, tackle climate change and grow the economy,” Norman said.
“The Transport Data Strategy sets out the government’s vision in this area, creating the right framework for the market to innovate and transport users to benefit.”
The strategy focuses on five key ambitions, including: improving data sharing to benefit transport users; promoting data standards; improving data skills in the workforce; ensuring appropriate governance and communication with the sector; and providing leadership and support for the sector.
As part of the strategy, the government is launching the ‘Find Transport Data’ pilot, a data catalogue designed to make it easier for innovators, researchers and others to find transport data, and ultimately deliver efficiencies and help improve services for customers.
It builds on the progress made in facilitating the opening up of third-party data through initiatives, such as: Bus Open Data Service (BODS); Street Manager; the development of the Rail Data Marketplace; and the modernisation of National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN).
In addition, the strategy also is said to consider data ethics to help guide the sector to ensure data is used appropriately and responsibly.
Chris Lane, head of transport innovation at Transport for West Midlands, welcomed the Transport Data Strategies goal of greater quality and use of transport data.
“We want to see journeys for rveryone becoming so convenient, seamless, and trusted, that users will often give up driving their personal vehicles, not because they have to, but because the alternative is better for them and the environment.
“A critical factor in achieving this is the customer receiving appropriate, accurate and timely information and having trust in the provider as they make their travel decisions.”
Along with the strategy, the DfT said it plans to publish a number of data sets and tools to help kickstart better data use in the sector. This includes:
- Local Authority Transport Data Guidance: a web-based tool to help councils use and share their transport data
- NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Node) Discovery: this explores how the existing NaPTAN data set could be improved, such as the inclusion of accessibility data – NaPTAN is a dataset that details all the bus stops and rail stations in the country
- Results from urban observatories sensors work: publishing work from an HMT Economic Data Innovation Fund project with the urban observatories in Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle on cataloguing, opening and visualising the transport-related data from their sensor networks
- Publication of process evaluation report: this report details the evaluation of some of DfT’s data projects and assistance provided to other public bodies in designing and implementing their data projects