[Open-transport] Best practice

Simon Chignard simonchignard at me.com
Thu Jan 31 12:56:05 UTC 2013

Hi Julian,

I tried to benchmark some initiatives of opening up transport data in Europe and US, here are some of the best practices : 

1/ first of all, you need a way to interact with developers - of course it's not specific to transport data but it's mandatory ! Some open data websites provides a forum, which is a good way to promote peer-to-peer interactions between developers. See data.keolis-rennes.com : they provide 2 distincts forums, one for general questions and ideas, the other one for technical discussion (about the transport data itself or the use of the API). MTA (New-York) has set-up a Google Group, see https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/mtadeveloperresources

It seems pretty obvious but I have seen the power of discussion forums. Some developers could answer directly to other, and we also saw some of them providing some tips to use the API - sometimes up to provide their own unofficial API...

2/ it's a good idea to provide some examples or some ideas of what you can do with these data. See TfL (transport for London) website : http://www.tfl.gov.uk/businessandpartners/syndication/16493.aspx#17615 : they list "some ideas" in front of each dataset. 
Furthermore, you could also list the applications that have already be deployed (but, again, this is not specific to open transport data...). See the "featured apps" section on mta.info : http://www.mta.info/developers/index.html 

3/ you need to provide branding guidelines and clear instructions about the use of every materials which is not data but related to the transport network : the color and logo of each bus line, the logo and of the network, ... 
Once again, a good inspiration is TfL's "Don't pretend to be us" - see http://www.tfl.gov.uk/businessandpartners/syndication/17102.aspx . The RATP in Paris has also these "branding guidelines" regarding the use of their map : http://data.ratp.fr/fileadmin/Documents/conditions_generales_dutilisation_0712.pdf

Simon Chignard


Re : 

Hi All,

We are at last reaching a watershed moment as far as open data and our regional transport authority TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) is concerned and they are looking to take more ownership over the data that they release. Historically they have uploaded static datasets to DataGM our regional datastore but these have been in archaic formats such as ATCO-CIF (I spoke to a few people about this at the Open Transport session at OKFEST in Helsinki)

We are running a Transport Innovation Challenge as part of FutureEverything's Open Data Cities programme in March and as part of TfGMs commitment to this they are releasing bus and tram scheduling data as GTFS, realtime city centre bus position data, realtime car park loadings*, realtime traffic volume and journey down road times*, and realtime cycle counts and routes*. This is together with a host of other datasets. What all this means is that they will have a dedicated opendata section on the TfGM website. Are there any open data pages on transit agency websites that people regard as being exemplars? What is needed to help people utilise the data? The minimum it seems is link to the data, license, data description and context.


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