// TEST r2p – Open Data Open Data
Open Data
A case study

r2p provides Open Data Services to many of our customers. Open Data means different things to different people, to us it is all about making data available so that public transport information can be as available wherever and whenever the traveling public want in which format and through which channel is best for them.

Readily available information to the public has been proved to be an important factor in the decision making process to take a bus. The more places and formats this can be made available in the more likely it is to meet the needs of a specific customer.No longer is it possible to just provide a display on street or a website, a multi-channel and format approach is needed to ensure that expectations are met.

The providers of the data also expect security and dependability to be at the forefront. This case study refers to a number of our systems deployed in the UK, and re-enforces our experience and expertise.

Data Formats

Using the experience of our in-house development team we can support a wide range of formats from industry standard formats to bespoke APIs to meet a specific customer requirement. We regularly supply CEN TS 15531 SIRI interfaces including SIRI SM, SM, SX, ET and PT to a wide range of different 3rd parties including Traveline and ITOWorld for Google.

We support data feeds in both Subscription and one-shot modes enabling users to choose the best method for their application. Many of our systems have feeds to MxData for the National Traveline Nextbuses services.

 

We have worked with ITOWorld and Google to become the first supplier of live information into Google Transit in the UK achieving the objectives of our customers to increase the availability of information. In this screen shot from Google Maps the GREEN times are real time provided by Nimbus in our Milton Keynes system:


Management and Security

Having a managed and secure Open Data Service is critical to being able to provide a reliable service to data users.

Through the use of our Open Data Service, 3rd parties once they have an account can manage access to the APIs and SIRI feeds themselves to enable them to setup, manage and use standard interfaces such as SIRI SM without needing support. This reduces the overhead on Authorities and Operators enabling more open data users to be supported whilst reducing cost. Users can only access the APIs and feeds by using security keys, this enables us to track and manage usage as well as monitoring system performance.

r2p or its customer is able to administer and monitor the subscriptions through a single interface. Administrators can enable or disable feeds, unsubscribe/re-subscribe to feeds and view the statistics we log against each feed (number of messages processed, x-day logs of SIRI transactions etc., throughput stats messages received per minute, message lag figures etc.). The single view allows any problems to be rapidly identified and dealt with, in this screenshot one outgoing feed has not been able to deliver data for tool long so has raised a fault and shows as red.

Through this tool we can ensure that a user is unable to consume all the system’s capacity as well as detect when a subscription drops allowing us to let them know so that information to customers is as reliable as possible. The capacity and volume of data we are able to support through our Open Data Service is only limited by our customer’s imagination – by using the latest cloud services we can scale to meet any requirement. For example, the Open Data Service we are currently building for Yorkshire will be able to scale up from their current base requirement of 5 million requests per month.


Lessons Learnt

We ensure that as early as possible in a project we engage with the 3rd parties who will want access to data to understand in detail what they are trying to achieve as understanding likely enquiry volumes. Through making sure this happens early we can advise them on the most effective, and easy to use data format to use to achieve their outcomes. Even though SIRI is an CEN standard it is possible to interpret data within a feed in a range of different ways resulting in different information outputs. Ensuring each parties interpretation and agreeing a consensual approach ensures that the information to the public is as expected and consistent across all outputs. Lessons are consolidated within and between projects by the use of a lessons log as recommended by PRINCE 2.


Outcomes

We are committed to our Open Data Service, so much so that we it to feed our own customer information products.

Our displays, websites and Apps all use the Open Data Service to obtain their information. By doing this we can be sure that our services are reliable and secure. Customers expect that information available on one channel matches another.

Its not uncommon to find someone waiting at a bus stop with a display using their mobile phone to check on an App. If information is different between the display and App the customer will have reduced confidence in the information from both sources. Because we use the Open Data Service for our information products we can reduce the risk that a 3rd party app is showing different information as both will source the data from the same place.

We are proud to play a part in the Reading Buses Tech Lab providing data to individuals and companies to explore and try and test ideas and products in a supported environment. This lab has already resulted in the development of new commercial products by startups as well as a number of different proof of concept ideas. Through the lab we have supported hack events organised by organisations as varied as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts to the Department of Transport and Hacktrain.

 

Our Open Data Service is used across many of our customers to provide information to the public. For example we provide SIRI SM data to MXData for use in the Traveline Next Buses services in Reading, North East Lincolnshire and Milton Keynes as well as SIRI ET to ITOWorld for use by Google. In Oxfordshire not only do we use it to provide data for our services, it is used by a wide range of 3rd parties to provide information including mobile phone apps including M-Tickets, websites as well as nearly 300 on street displays.