On 9th September 2020 the UK Government published its response to the Smart Data Review conducted in 2019. The report, titled “Next steps for Smart Data. Putting consumers and SMEs in control of their data and enabling innovation” not only cites the success of Open Banking, with the UK leading the way, it also states that although data portability initiatives are developing in finance, energy, communications, and pensions, this progress lags behind that of banking. Notable is the fact that Open Banking existed for around a decade before it got going, with the key driver being legislation to participate and fund its adoption.
It is worth highlighting the section of the report called “Legislating to mandate participation” as that is where transport gets a specific mention. And it is in this section that the authors (The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) clearly indicate an intention to use legislation to “mandate industry involvement in Smart Data initiatives across the economy”.
What this means is, at the right time, UK Parliament will introduce primary legislation to make different sectors participate in Smart Data (e.g. portable and interoperable data) initiatives and that this will extend to sectors such as retail and transport.
Also, in another section of the same report there are suggestions put forward for future Smart Data initiatives, including for Transport:
“for example, linking trains, airlines, and vehicle data to enable apps that could automatically claim for redress following delays, or enable consumers to track their carbon footprint”
The Open Transport Initiative welcomes the publication of this report and the recommendations it makes for the transport and mobility sector.
Although it is hoped that a “bottom-up” approach to open and smart transport data adoption would allow the linking of data within different accounts of any transport mode (bus, ferry, train, vehicle hire, scooter, etc.), a “top-down” mandate of obligation for the entire sector to be involved in such initiatives would certainly help to accelerate adoption and in-turn benefit customers.