Reading Council has opened up transport data to support real-time traffic and bus information.
The council said the data would enable third party developers to create travel apps.
These apps could then be accessed by the travelling public for live, up-to-the-minute transport information.
The open data server takes information from Reading’s Real Time Passenger Information system (RTPI), its Urban Traffic Management Control system (UTMC), roadwork information from the Highways Agency's database of scheduled road works and the council’s car park messaging system.
Hosted on Microsoft Azure, Reading's open data server was procured through the government’s Digital Marketplace, reducing the tendering process from months to weeks, according to Rob McDonald, director ITS, at Peter Brett Associates, which consulted on the project.
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Appetite for live travel information
McDonald said the council had the project up and running in three months.
Passenger travel information can be accessed in the same formation as Transport for London, which could encourage TfL app developers to adapt their software and services for Reading, McDonald said.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: "At a time when the travelling public are increasingly accessing information on smartphones and tablets whilst on the move, there is a real appetite out there for live traffic and travel information in particular.
"By opening up access we expect third parties to come forward and develop apps which residents can then use to make informed decisions about journeys they make."
The data Reading Council will release
Reading will make several data services available including:
- Bus timetables and live expected arrival times for every bus stop in Reading;
- Up-to-date roadworks information;
- Car park information, including the current and predicted number of spaces;
- Traffic updates.
How open travel data is used
Reading's open data has been used by Microsoft and Guide Dogs for the Blind Association for their "Cities Unlocked" initiative to help people with sight loss better navigate their way around an urban area.
This project provides visually impaired people with a 3D soundscape, designed to augment their perception of the world around them with extra information, provided by digital beacons dotted around Reading and London.
The open data server was funded by Reading Borough Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) project and European INTERREG funding through Reading’s involvement in the Regions of Connected Knowledge (RoCK) project.