Bus Open Data plans announced

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New laws mean that operators must now disclose information on routes, timetables, fares and tickets to BODDS

As part of the Bus Services Act (2017) which came into force on 27 April, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the objective to improve the way passengers can access information.

Bus Open Data
Nottingham City Transport (NCT) has announced it is launching a new open data portal. LUKE STOPPARD

Changes will subsequently be made to the way information about routes, timetables, fares and tickets is accessed, with the addition of real-time information.

The first of these changes will be to openly publish route and timetable data to the Bus Open Data Digital Service (BODDS) and this will be introduced from 7 January 2020.

The regulation will also require transport authorities to include information about bus stops and any changes made to stops.

Work on correcting errors and improving the quality of data is ongoing, however the change is intended as a one-off fix currently existent in the NaPTAN dataset.

In response to this, Nottingham City Transport (NCT) has announced it is launching a new open data portal on its website.

The data on the operator’s portal, delivered in association with Passenger, will update automatically when it makes changes to its services. It includes all published TransXChange and General Transit Feed Specification files containing data about the NCT network and timetables, mobile ticket products and the OpenStreetMap location slice used to power the destination search.

A link to the bus stop location data NCT uses, part of a national open data set called NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Node), and the Bus Stop Checker tool used to identify errors where stops have moved or have been inaccurately documented, is also provided.

Mark Fowles, Managing Director at NCT and Traveline Chairman, commented: “Many bus companies in the industry are still unaware of the full implications of the Bus Services Act. By publishing accurate data openly on our website, as well as into the national open datasets, I hope this step will act as a call to arms for industry colleagues and continue to underline the importance of open data.”

Tom Quay, CEO of Passenger said: “We’re delighted to be launching this Open Data portal with NCT. Open Data has been shown to have a huge impact on innovation and we’re hoping this new service makes it easier than ever to access accurate, local transport data. As well as innovative new ideas, this data can also be used for research, education and personal interest. NCT has always been ahead of the curve and it’s great they want to make this data available in this way.”


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