UK: The Open Transport Initiative has launched Open Transport API specifications designed to support the development of Mobility-as-a-Service initiatives by enabling customers to access data held in separate accounts with multiple transport operators and agencies.
The standards, which were formally launched on January 3, have been developed with input from around 20 transport operators, authorities and technology suppliers, and are being made freely available for any organisation to use.
The first of the specifications is for a customer account API. This would provide a standard way to facilitate peer-to-peer data sharing and account interoperability, allowing a customer to view all their data from various operators in one place. As well as journeys made across multiple transport modes, this could include tickets which have been bought, entitlements to concessionary fares and details of additional services such as car parking or refreshments which have been purchased.
The centralised operator information API is designed to provide an operator directory service, similar to the sort code directory within the financial services industry, offering unique reference information about each mode of transport or organisation, including any publicly available customer-account API locations.
Later phases could facilitate payments, although this will require development in a more complex technical and regulatory environment.
Hayden Sutherland, director of Open Transport Initiative founder member Ideal Interface, told Metro Report International that his experience in the transport sector had shown that open standards were needed, ‘ideally 20 years ago’.
Sutherland said many organisations in the UK and abroad had expressed interest in the new standards. He hopes that transport authorities will now require operators to adopt the standards when specifying contracts, while suppliers will incorporate them within their product ranges.
‘A lot of people have said this is needed, and needed as soon as possible’, said Sutherland. ‘I got fed up of waiting, and said “let’s do it”’.