Transport for the North (TfN) has partnered with transit data experts, Ito World, to pioneer a ‘Disruption Messaging’ solution to improve the quality and speed of information reaching passengers during times of disruption.
The new tool will allow local authorities and service operators to enter travel disruption information once and then output consistent messages to customers via a multitude of channels including social media, real-time displays and journey planners.
The new tool is due for release in early 2020 - an initial trial is slated for 19 local authorities and respective service operators within the TfN region, before the tool will become available across the UK.
Consistent data will then be made available via TfN’s ‘open data hub’ – also currently in development - and released to passengers across multiple channels. The open source data will also be available third-party app developers, providing further opportunity for innovation.
Barry White, chief executive at TfN, said: 'By providing quality, open and reliable data, the Disruption Messaging Tool will help make getting from A to B an improved and more seamless experience. Wherever you are going, journeys on public transport should be simple and easy to plan for.'
Johan Herrlin, CEO at Ito World, continued: 'Disruptions are often exacerbated by inaccurate data and can cause huge stress across public transport network systems. Being able to address and circumnavigate these potential disruptions is crucial, not just to alleviate these stresses, but to aid the continued use and growth of public transport networks.
'More and more we are looking to shared mobility services as economic and environmentally sound alternatives to private car travel. However, we need easily accessible, accurate data if we are going to successfully navigate public transport systems – whether in rural or urban locations. Access to open data sources are a crucial piece of the data puzzle.'
TfN is the UK’s first statutory sub-national transport body and the new tool is part of their Integrated and Smart Travel programme to make better and more accurate public transport information available to customers across the North of England.
The solution is being powered by the existing Ito Transit Hub, which helps transform operational data into a single source of highly accurate real-time passenger information.
The system takes in transit and related data in any format, for all modes and all operators in a city or region. Datasets including transit schedules, real-time updates, disruptions, and fares are constantly processed to improve accuracy using advanced algorithms as well as expert interventions.