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Bristol opens up transport data to app developers

Bristol City Council offers free access to transport data to encourage the development of mobile technology systems

Bristol City Council has launched an application programme interface (API) to provide free and easy access to transport data from across the city, in support of new and innovative technology projects.

The Bristol API is the latest step in a project that has already opened up a number of civic data sets held by the council via the Bristol Open Data portal, which was first launched in the summer of 2014 with support from the Future Cities and Connected Digital Economy catapults.

It also draws on subsequent work that has taken place through the Bristol is Open project, a collaboration between the council, the University of Bristol and a number of suppliers to construct a high-performance, low latency software-defined network (SDN) to run smart city initiatives.

The service will provide a number of datasets, such as live bus and train information, stop locations route maps, car park occupancy and even electric vehicle charging points, for developers to use in apps, websites, internet of things (IoT) projects and so on. It also opens up data on bike hire stations in London and New York, lending the scheme a global aspect.

The datasets will cover both Bristol and the wider west of England region, and will be offered free for 12 months.

The API itself was developed with assistance from UrbanThings, the outfit behind the BusChecker mobile app, which claims to have more than two million downloads under its belt.

Bristol Futures director Stephen Hilton said the API would improve predicted timings and help with journey planning for the wider public.

“Using data in this way shows how the council is actively trying to tackle the challenges in the city by collaborating with the tech community and leaders in the industry such as UrbanThings,” he said.

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