Northernlands 2 - Bus open data
The team behind the new bus open data service share some insight about the benefits to data publishers/consumers and how they made it happen, both technically and politically
This transcript comes from the captions associated with the video above. It is "as spoken".
Hi everyone, welcome to Northern lands 2 and our mobility in
modern city sessions. We're really excited because we're going to
talk about buses. My name is Paul Connell. I'm founder of
ODI Leeds, so I guess it's my fault a lot of this stuff and
although we've got a lot to learn from our North Sea neighbors in
the Netherlands around mobility, one thing we've always
focused on at ODI Leeds is transport data, and we're really
pleased to have four people who are working on one of our
favorite issues which are buses.
How you get everyone on the bus and it's going to be - it's
not flying cars are going to fix things is going to be buses.
We've not got five people we did have four, this is amazing.
I'd like them all to introduce themselves.
If we start with you Amy.
Yeah hi, I'm Amy Bridge. I'm ito world's project manager.
Waheed? My name's Waheed I'm basically leading the UX team
user research for the bus open data project on behalf of KPMG.
Thanks. Lisa? My name's Lisa I'm a DfT policy adviser for
passenger experience at the bus open data service.
Great stuff Richard, tell us who you are. Hello Richard
Mason, I work for TfN I'm the information strategy manager
and TfN are heavily involved with the bus open data
program, particularly on the fares and ticket workstream.
Great and TfN are sponsors of ODI Leeds and we've done lots of great
work with them before working with DfT you might
have seen "all aboard the data bus" work that we've done over
last couple of years.
So to set the scene, we've got a visualization that's been put
together by the team. It's about 2 minutes 10 seconds long. So if
you bear with us over to the visualization and editing suite.
Welcome back, hopefully you understand a little bit more
about what the progress of the programme is, an what buses mean
and what data means, and I'm now going to ask Lisa to talk us
through what does open data aim to do what it's going to mean
for us all and where we are now 'cause were at some exciting points
in legislation and regulations at the moment.
OK, so the bus open data service is a new digital service from
DfT that aims to transform the delivery of best passenger
information across England and improve journeys for the
travelling public. So this is being delivered in conjunction
with our partners KPMG, Ito World and ourselves. So why are
we doing this? So each year 4.3
billion bus journeys are taken in this country, and half of
those, 51%, are in London with the remaining 49% across the rest of
the country. So we think this is definitely been driven by TfL's
track record in making transport information open,
which they have done since 2007. They've made all of their Bus and
Transport Network data freely available through the London
data store. So two recent 2017 studies by Deloitte
explore the value of TFL's data and found that open data
was being used by 8200 app developers to power 600 apps
which are now used by 42% of Londoners. We've sort of
seen same progress within Transport West Midlands who've
also heavily invested in providing public transport data
in their area, and they've seen recent growth year-on-year growth
of 7.8 million journeys.
You know against the backdrop of a decline in bus
passenger journeys elsewhere.
So why do we need bus open data?
We are moving to a more on-demand convenient transport system.
Open data will transform how we travel by providing on demand
services and real time journey planners and we want to empower
consumers. We want people to
choose buses. And not just passengers in London. We want bus
passengers across the country to have up to the minute
information about services at
their fingertips. So we do think this will have real profound
change to bus use in the UK.
OK, So where are we now? So how will this happen? So on the 28th
of January, we launched the bus open data service so bus
operators can go on there and start uploading their data ahead
of the deadlines. So these deadlines are being prescribed
by regulations which have just
passed both Houses of Parliament, House of
Commons and the House of Lords have debated the regulations and
both have agreed that this is something that we know we need
to do so this will come
into force. So the scope of the regulation encompasses
timetables, fares, vehicle location data, and
historic punctuality data. This will be a phased approach with
routes and timetables to come into effect from the 31st
December 2020 and further requirements are published:
basic fares data and location data from effect on 7th of
January 2021 and then following this there will be complex
fares data from the 7th January 2023.
This will be complemented as well by punctuality data.
As we know the regulations only tell half the
story about what's happening.
This would mean that 100% of bus data will be collected
across the country, but really the rest of the story
is the program itself.
Fantastic. OK, we've also got Waheed from KPMG who's
working with Ito World and DfT on the project. So to
tell us how it works.
Absolutely thanks Paul. So as Lisa mentioned this year in
the project itself, we're at a point where we've got the
service of the timetables up and ready already. So from January
onwards this year bus operators can actually go actually start
putting in the data itself. We're currently working on the
AVL as well as the fares. AVL is the location data itself. I've
actually got some slides for you guys to actually show you how
the user journey.
Course you are you're a consultant. You've always got slides. Over to you.
Cool, brilliant, so I hope you guys can see so in terms of
since the kind of start of the project couple of years ago
a couple years and months ago now we've conducted over 200 plus
interviews across the industry and this is from the upstream of
people who provide open data as well as people in the downstream
who would kind of use the open data as well. And really what
we're trying to do is obviously build a container itself so data
goes in. Someone puts it in and data goes out just like your bank
account, you know you input money and you take it out. It's
just that it's a different person in this instance itself. So
we're really trying to refine the process of the upstream as
well as a downstream talk to users. So based on that it's
going to show you a couple of the basic user journeys that
we're going to expect to hit. Essentially, whenever the
legislation kicks in. So this is the upstream flow of exactly
how a publisher would do what a
publisher would do. So this is putting the data into the box
container itself. So as you can see Cameron the can-do as a
retail manager at a medium size bus operating company. So he
basically has a bus army company as an employee. So what he would
do is basically when BODS kicks in he would receive the
invitation of BODS. Obviously read the guidelines. Read the
implementation, read everything that's there and then what he
would do is basically create his timetable and so this is only
for a timetable data just for
this instance. What do you do is essentially use software like a
nice scheduling software already there across the
industry, so any of these scheduling software so he would
use that to actually create that TransXChange data, which is an
open data format that we'll use. After that what he will do is
basically sign onto BODS and really kind of upload that data
that he has essentially. There is also the next step, which is
he can review the data quality, so we've done.
Some work in terms of doing like 20 different observations, and
these are all free, so once a operator basically uploads the
bus data, they can see some essential observations of things
that they can improve in the data. So that insures the real
quality in the pipeline for the data itself. For people who are
consuming like programmers, and app developers and that kind of
stuff. So after he reviews the data quality report it goes
ahead and fully publishes that dataset essentially. At this
point it becomes fully published and the data consumers can
actually see that as well. You know on that side. And obviously
he can view the datasets and do this journey again, essentially
for new buses that he has and would run essentially.
This is in terms of the consumer flow and this is
consumer... we mean are basically researchers, are programmers, are
app developers and all that sort of people. So the real kind of
meat of BODS is to increase innovation in the industry
through the opening of data essentially. So here Ian the
innovator, we put him, and he's a PhD researcher at a University
itself. So what he does is he essentially is working on a
specific project. And he searches for a bus open data he
finds essentially the service that there is something there,
but he is more interested in specifically looking at Bristol,
because that's his research thesis essentially. So what he
does is goes on and searches and finds a specific Bristol
datasets. After that that he downloads the TransXChange
file, which is a TXT file. What he would do then is
uses like a R programming tool to translate that TXT file into
tables. Tabulated form that he actually needs for his research.
So for example, if it's trying to correlate climate change
emissions data with the buses in Bristol, he can do that here. In
that case. And if he actually finds his dataset quite
interesting and likes to use it further in the future, what he
does is subscribe to a specific data set. So whenever there is a
change to the dataset he has it, he knows it. And then in the
future you can use that further as well if he has any feedback
about the data. If there's something that's not, you know
some things that's odd or can be improved. He can provide the
feedback to the publisher who published the data in the 1st
place, so that's the kind of core principle in terms of
how researchers and innovators would use it in the future.
That's the vision and Dayna here is another use case of data
consumer who is an app developer specifically, so she
has a business kind of function to what he does, so she searches
for the data. She goes to GitHub community, and the clients that
basically, hey, there's something called bus open data
that's there. Which is a fully open data set, so she goes on to
BODS, does an exploration activity and really finds that
this is something she can use. So what she does is she creates
an account and signs up for the API that we provide, and it's
like an open API that anyone can sign up to and it would have
basically the bus location data, the static timetables data as
well as a static fares data as well for each of these. So data
can really... you start using the API and we have like a standard
swagger documentation so any developer across the world can
really pick it up and start using the API, which
has both real time as well as the kind of static data.
So that's in a nutshell, the kind of journeys in a nutshell. So
obviously like I told you before that, there's something about
these tools of creating timetables and creating the
static data, and we're working with our partners at Transport
for the North, TFN. Specifically on fares. So there are developing
quite a interesting fare table tool for the industry
which is going to output the netX format for fares, so
that's in a nutshell. I'm going to head over to Richard Mason
now who's going to tell us a bit more about essentially
what's going on with the fares in TFN. Over to Richard.
Thanks Waheed and thanks for the ODI for the opportunity to tell
you a little more about our work at Transport for the North, which is
supporting the DfT bus open data program. So very early on TfN
recognized that fares information was a key gap in the
public transport information landscape, so we decided to
develop a fares data build tool. So this tool is supporting bus
operators, especially the small and medium size operators to
meet the requirement to provide fares information as part of the
Bus Services Act 2017 regulation.
The aim of the TfN fares data build tool is to
make it simple and easy for operators and local authorities
should they provide a data agent service on behalf of those
operators. So the idea is this will help them to create
fares data and publish this in the netX format which is the
new fares data standard in the UK. Like the DfT bus open data
digital service our fares tool is being developed to government
digital standards which will
ensure that it is as easy to use as registering and renewing
your car road tax. We're working hard in collaboration with the
DfT to stimulate excitement about this new fares data set,
which our tool will enable.
We are thinking not only about publication, but also about how
the data will be used and how that will get into the hands of
passengers. So we are working with developers to ensure it
will be integrated into many travel planning apps and
websites as possible. Once the fares information is out
there, accelerated by the bus open data program, we believe it
will stimulate further digital and ticketing innovation, but
ultimately providing information on how much it costs to travel
by bus is giving passengers what they need to make an
informed travel choice. It's certainly an exciting time.
Brilliant. Thanks so much Richard.
I'd like to gove over to Amy Bridge who's going to talk to
us about how is this is actually coming together, what
it means and also let's have a glimpse of the future because
we love buses at ODI Leeds. This is going to be
transformational in terms of how people use and access buses
but it's also, I think, it is a bigger piece around how the
world of data and software is smashing into the maybe more
established world to transport and infrastructure.
Yeah, thanks very much Paul. So as you say the bus open
data service is incredibly exciting. It is initially going
to drive huge benefits for both passengers and for operators.
Passenger apps are only as good as the data that powers them,
and by aggregating data on timetables, vehicle location
data and data on fares for every single bus journey in England and
by making this openly available from the same repository
passengers will get better access to this comprehensive,
high quality data through innovative apps and that in turn
will drive growth in ridership and in operator revenue. But
really, that's just the starting point for BODS, and the
benefits that it will deliver. Because beyond this, what BODS
will also do is over time it will generate a comprehensive,
standardised, high-quality national data set for buses.
Something that, as far as we're aware, is the very first time
that a country has done this. And once you have this sort of
data, you can start to build up an incredibly powerful transit
data model over a long period of time, and on top of that you can
layer other national datasets, for example, other transport
mode data, socio-economic data, and also environmental data, and
collectively, you have a hugely powerful tool once you have all
of that that can influence
and inform long-term governance and policy decision
making in a way that's never been possible before. So whilst
the immediate impacts of BODS are incredibly
exciting, the longer term impacts will be even more as
you say, transformational and it
really is a world leading service. So yeah, very exciting
times for the bus open data
programme. And it is and I'll maybe ask Amy and
maybe some others to jump in
here because we talk about being radically open at ODI
Leeds. People sort of get what we're talking about, but this
really is a radically open project in that anybody would be
able to build a model from the data that's published. Anybody
would be able to use their own model to challenge someone else's model.
And we should get much better models as we move forward and
that move from rather than trusting experts to tell us
what's happening and what might happen in the future with the
model, we can actually have real data which can tell us over the
last five years we've done this.
We intervened in this area and built a bus lane, and it improved
our connectivity by X so we can actually measure the
interventions and measure the impact of interventions. Again,
much better bang for our buck. in terms of that world. So maybe
I won't ask DfT what it means in terms of political, but maybe
ask you, Amy, for your view
about how that's going to change the way in which we make
decisions about transport infrastructure.
Yeah, absolutely. So as you say,
by opening up that data in a way that it currently isn't, you
know a standardised and open as it could be. What it does really is
to drive transparency with the data about buses. And as you
say, it opens it up to literally anybody. So anybody can use the
bus open data service to pull the data that it holds and that's
something that so far has been
very difficult to do because of the heterogeneous nature of the
data types around buses, and so it will be the first time that
it really is open to the masses and by driving increased
transparency about the data and allowing anybody to use that
data and to put it into different models and be able to
analyze that data, it really will drive more innovative
analysis and consumer applications to be able to use
buses as a as a really important mode for the future, and if you
look at something like rail where they've had open data for
quite some time now, you can see that there's a much better
continuity of information between apps. So when a customer
goes into different apps they tend to see the same information
and at the moment that something that customers have said they
don't get as much of with buses. So if they go into one app it
says one thing in a different app it might say something
different, and so by increasing the transparency and by
standardising the information
that's out it really drives the trust that passengers can
have in buses, and as we all know, trust in the data is
absolutely key for passengers to use those modes and to start to
switch from car journeys into rail journeys. But also buses
and other transit modes.
Thanks you. That's amazing and we're looking
forward to watching the progress of this and then joining in
where we can in the future. So what I'd like to do is say thank
you to all of our speakers. Really exciting work that we're
all doing, and what I guess as it goes through the
regulations, go through parliament this week. The
program is on track. It's a real success story, so thank you
very much. See you soon. Cheers.
Waheedur Rahman Nabeel
Consultant (Public Sector), KPMG UK
Waheed is a Consultant for KPMG’s public sector data analytics practise focusing on implementing technology delivery projects for central and local government bodies in the UK.
He is currently leading the User Experience (UX) and Research team for the Beta workstreams of the Bus Open Data (BODS) project delivered on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK. The BODS project aims to open up high quality bus data across England to researchers, innovators, app developers, policy makers and the general public.
Project Manager, Ito World
Amy is a Project Manager at Ito World, the tech and transit data specialists behind the Department for Transport's Bus Open Data Service (BODS). Ito World has worked with Department for Transport since on the BODS programme since 2018, alongside KPMG.
Ito World solves transportation challenges across the globe for millions of travellers every day, by delivering real-time transit data feeds to journey planners and a platform for transit authorities and operators. Our mission is to deliver data that is as close to the real-life experience of the traveller as possible. With offices in London and Cambridge, we serve clients from all over the world, such as Apple, Google, TomTom, Arriva, and Go-Ahead.
Information Strategy Manager, Transport for the North
Richard has worked in the public transport customer information space since September 2004, starting out at South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) in various roles from data acquisition and management through to leading the transformation of raw operator data into meaningful customer information across print, web and digital.
Through his role at Transport for the North (TfN), Richard sits on the DfT Bus Open Data programme board – helping to shape national policy with partners from the transport industry. His current role at TfN is a strategic position to drive the adoption of a consistent customer information strategy across the North, working alongside 20 Local Transport Authorities and the tech sector. In parallel, Richard also leads on the fares data build tool project by TfN and engagement with open data developers across the UK to influence and encourage them to adopt TfN and pan Northern datasets.
Nothernlands 2 is a collaboration between ODI Leeds and The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the start of activity to create, support, and amplify the cultural links between The Netherlands and the North of England. It is with their generous and vigourous support, and the support of other energetic organisations, that Northernlands can be delivered.