Bristol opens up transport data with new online tool


Bristol City Council has launched a new open data web tool that will provide free access to a wealth of transport information, including real-time feeds from buses and car parks.

The API (application programme interface) will be free to use for the first year and is being launched to encourage the technology community to ‘explore ways to use and present the data framed around relevant and actual transport challenges in the city’.


As well as public transport information, the data will give instant updates on occupancy in local car parks as well as electric vehicle charging locations.

Some of the data comes from the council’s open data portal while others are external; the bus times uses the ‘Vix’ feed and the rail time data comes from National Rail Enquiries’ ‘Darwin’ service.

Director of Bristol Futures Stephen Hilton said: ‘The introduction of the Bristol API (Transport) is a huge step for Bristol City Council and could improve predicted timings as well as help with journey planning for the 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.’

A BETA version of the API went live on 7 December 2015 and became public on 14 December.

The API was built by UrbanThings, famous for producing the successful BusChecker app, after the company was appointed by the council’s City Innovation team.

Developers attempting to build apps, websites, connected devices or customer information displays will be able to use transport data for Bristol and the West of England region. The API will also provide access to real time bus and timetabled information via a RESTful API.

Director of UrbanThings Carl Partridge, said: ‘UrbanThings is delighted to be harnessing the Internet of Things to empower intelligent mobility. We were delighted to be selected to provide this cutting-edge API and we're hoping that developers and engineers are inspired to build some amazing innovations. We look forward to working with them to further enhance the API and help Bristol become a world-leading Smart City.’

A Bristol City Council spokeswoman told Transport Network the API was a way for the authority to bring together and manage a large amount of real-time data for developers to use and will evolve as applications are developed.


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