Start thinking differently about transport & mobility data

The transport and mobility sector is seeing the benefit of publishing Open Data (data that is made freely available without license or limitation). For example, the release of Open Data by Transport for London (TfL) was calculated by Deloitte as generating annual economic benefits and savings of up to £130m for travellers, London and TfL itself.

Plus Open Data from transport & mobility providers and their platforms can also contribute to improving societal outcomes, encourage innovation and the wider environment. e.g. by changing behaviours and enabling geographic regions to take advantage of new commercial opportunities.

But Open Data is just one type of data and potentially the easiest (or least problematic) to deal with. Sitting on the far right of the Data Spectrum for Transport & Mobility it enables the sharing of data entities such as timetables, fares and routes.

The next challenge is for the sector to understand and work together, in a correct and consistently way, to support the introduction and ongoing management of shared data initiatives, also called Smart Data by the UK Government. Smart Data is defined as that data which is owned by a customer who then gives permission for it to be shared with specific partners – either on a named (one-to-one) basis or on a group-based (less explicitly = depersonalised) basis. This is the data that sits in the middle of the Data Spectrum and requires the use of consent permission & security controls.

But to do this doesn’t just require technology change (e.g. the creation and use of Open API standards for mobility data interoperability), it needs a mindset change to:

  • Introduce legislation to mandate that Smart Data practices are adopted
  • Create the right support entity to help with the implementation of standards and policies
  • Establish sector-wide governance to ensure that processes, data sharing and other societal & commercial considerations (e.g. accessibility, fairness, etc.) are maintained over time

So who will be the first transport authority to think this differently?

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