What is the Open Transport Initiative?
The Open Transport Initiative was set up by a group of transport industry and technical specialists with a common interest in account interoperability. They identified that as more transport providers/operators, suppliers and platforms enter the mobility market, an increasing amount of customer data is going to be stored in different proprietary systems.
The idea came from the belief that all transport accounts owned by the same individual need to be integrated and that agreed data can be shared between them via standard API technologies.
Why was the Open Transport Initiative needed?
Customer and transaction data is locked away in different systems and is therefore a potential blocker to the adoption of multi-modal Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). It also prevents the creation of a joined-up view of a customer’s purchases and usage across multiple Transport Providers and MaaS Platforms. Therefore the founding team decided to design a standard for the entire transport industry. Creating a consistent way for accounts (albeit provided by different suppliers and technologies) to integrate and share transport data in a consistent way.
What has been created?
Following extensive peer review and feedback, two different API specifications were made available from Friday 3rd January 2020:
This is a standard for the interoperability of transport account data. The current data types described are: Purchase, Usage & Concession
This is a standard for a central look-up service for all transport/mobility. Its main purpose is to act as a transport API directory service that can be queried to provide the URLs of each participating operator (including the location of each Customer-account API).
Who would this be of interest to?
- Authorities & government departments, looking to encourage interoperability of customer transport accounts, to deliver a better user experience and encourage a blend of public and private transport landscape.
- Transport operators, looking to future-proof their systems by specifying a standard way of integrating with other providers and MaaS platforms.
- System vendors, looking to save time & effort in the analysis, specification and development of customer account integration functionality.
- Other innovators, who may want to build upon the data provided by these APIs in new and exciting ways we have not yet thought of.
What are the next steps?
Any future specification requests and updates to the specifications will be managed by a standards committee made up of transport industry representatives.
Further work is then expected, such as the implementation of the central operator-info look-up service and the creation of an example account that uses the customer-account specification.