Passenger launches AVL service alongside Transxchange hosting for Bus Open Data Service

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UK transport technology company Passenger can now host Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data for Bus Open Data Service (BODS) through its open data hub.

Passenger began hosting TransXChange (TXC) data in April 2019 in preparation for the DfT’s new BODS service following the Bus Services Act 2017. From December 2020, Passenger will provide AVL data to BODS on behalf of NCT who work with German ETM provider INIT. This step will ensure that NCT will be compliant with the forthcoming regulations, ahead of the January 2021 deadline.

Operator AVL and TXC hosted by Passenger are linked for automatic updates via its open data hub, which provides an easily accessible data store to BODS, and its predecessor Traveline, during the transition period between them.

Anthony Carver-Smith, Marketing Manager at NCT said: “When the regulations were announced there was a concern from operators that it could be a time-consuming process to meet the new legislation, adding to an already full workload in delivering services. But Passenger has made compliance with the new regulations automatic for NCT.

Passenger already has the necessary data infrastructure in place as our real-time vehicle location data is used to track our buses on the NCT website and app. So we are grateful that they have also now been able to provide the necessary link to the BODS service. This assistance from Passenger has allowed us to sidestep some technical complexities and be compliant ahead of the deadline”.

Passenger also confirmed that it will act as a BODS Agent for any bus operator or local authority seeking assistance to meet the regulations. BODS Agent Mode functionality, released to the service in November 2020, allows bus operators to delegate responsibility for publishing data to a local transport authority or private agent, enabling organisations like Passenger to manage operator BODS accounts on their behalf.

“There are a host of ticket machine providers in the UK. Many will be providing direct feeds of AVL data to BODS. Where this isn’t the case, Passenger can help,” added Alex Ross, Senior Engineer at Passenger.
Across England, over 50% of public transport trips are made by local bus, and even with reduced travel due to Covid regulations and lockdowns, buses have been crucial to keeping the country moving.

Transport for London (TfL) released its own open data in 2007 and found that routes with real-time service updates reported a 2% uplift in patronage compared to routes without. Better access to real-time bus locations and vehicle information is an important part of improving the bus travel experience for everyone.