Comparing Transport & Mobility Mode Definitions

As part of the Open Transport Initiative’s work to create our centralised Operator-Info API specification, we also had to create a definition of transport and mobility modes.

Yes, there are other definitions for some modes of transport in different mobility specifications. However none of them covered all the modes of transport a modern mobility ecosystem needs, including both public transit (e.g. bus, rail, subway, etc.) and private (car, cycling, scooter, etc.).

View our 16 defined modes of transport & mobility

We therefore thought it would be useful to those considering adopting the work of The Open Transport Initiative to compare the mode definitions we provide with those provide by other standards bodies.

What other transport standards define modes?

The General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) is a common format for public transportation schedules and associated geographic information supported by major transit agencies and Google (e.g. for use within Google Maps).
It defines 12 modes of mobility that are used for mass public transportation.

The Mobility Data Specification (MDS) is an open standard originally developed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) in 2018, it is now governed by the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF). It is a standard for two-way integrations between city / regional agencies and transport & mobility providers.
It defines 4 modes of mobility that are used for micro-mobility or vehicle sharing: bicycle, car, scooter and moped.

Note: Neither of these have a definition for walking or other modes needed for a complete joined-up picture of an individual’s door-to-door journey.

The tables shown below give a side-by-side mapping / comparison of each specification’s mode definition.

If anyone would like to consider any additions or changes to these, please see our published amendment process:

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