Latest Rail News

09.08.18

TOCs and tech firms team up to develop rail apps from real-time data

TOCs will soon publish more real-time data to allow technology firms to improve travel apps so that passengers can receive more efficient and up-to-date information in the future, the government has announced.

The government and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) published their ‘Joint rail data action plan’ outlining the partnership’s aim for closer working between rail and tech firms to bring about more efficient information about services, delays and cancellations, as well as on-board facilities like toilets and refreshments.

Data will be made available on individual carriages on each train, allowing operators to accurately communicate on-board facilities.

Building on the information that the industry has already made available, data will be released over the coming months allowing tech teams to provide more consistent information about train services, delays and disruption. It will also allow operators to predict and fix issues before they arise.

Chief executive of the RDG Paul Plummer said the rail industry wants to “produce cutting-edge products and services” that can be exported around the world.

“Digital technology in rail already means more timely information and less time spent waiting, helping to put customers in charge, and as part of the rail industry’s plan to change and improve we want to use technology to give customers more and more control,” Plummer added.

The removal of barriers for sharing information will be one of the most prominent outcomes of the partnership: for example, the government will look to improve the standardisation of how data is sourced, stored, and released to tech firms, alongside the improvement of clarity and transparency over which data is commercially sensitive and what data can be used.

The DfT and RDG will also explore the incentives that could be produced to drive innovation and data sharing.

Transport minister Jo Johnson argued that this “will speed the development of travel apps that provide passengers with helpful information about their journeys.”

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Image credit: Sitthiphong

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