UK: The government has announced £5m of funding to start the development of a Rail Data Marketplace intended to provide tools and frameworks to open up rail data to developers and tech companies through a single-access platform.

It is envisaged that having the data in one place could support the provision of information and real-time alerts on the availability of seats, detail on disruptions, the most accessible point of a platform and the status of lifts and escalators.

Companies and developers will also be able to raise issues directly through the platform about which data they want to see.

‘Sharing rail data like this opens up new and exciting possibilities for apps and websites that can make taking a train a smoother, quicker and better experience’, said Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris on June 30. ‘Our reforms in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail will put an end to the fragmentation of rail data in the industry and unleash new opportunities that will support innovation and enable data to power the services of the future.’

The RDM platform is expected to launch next year, following development of the technology and engagement with the sector and data users.

‘Simplifying data access was highlighted in the original Rail Sector Deal as a key component of a flourishing, modern and advanced rail sector’, said James Bain, the Rail Supply Group’s Mobility & Data Champion, Chair of the Rail Data Council and CEO of Worldline UK&I. ‘Today’s announcement is a big step forwards and places the sector in an excellent position to move rail forward to match and even surpass other sectors such as air travel, in terms of the offer we can make to customers and clients.’