Transport for London (TfL) has announced that its open data Application Program Interface (API) has seen more than 2,000 new developers sign up for access to live information in the last six months to 14 April - and so helped millions of Londoners plan their journeys more easily across the Capital.
TfL said the data, available free of charge at its Open Data Users page, is part of a commitment to make its information openly available to assist developers in creating better products and services for Londoners and visitors.
Overall, around 8,200 developers are now registered for TfL's Unified API.
500 apps directly powered by TfL open data
TfL said that, as smartphone usage for travel information increases, almost 500 apps are now being directly powered by this open data - for providing Londoners with up-to-the-minute information about public transport and the road network.
It added it will continue to make new open data feeds available, and subsequently added Live Tram Arrivals to its Unified API, and so allow people in south London to know at the touch of a button when their tram will arrive and the status of their service.
TfL also said it is working to test the release of historical crowding data about key London Underground stations to see if this can help stimulate new information products, including the predicted future status of the system at certain times.
TfL offering to work with developers
TfL said it intends to help developers can make the most of the available data. For example, aAhead of the London Marathon, it worked with the sat-nav manufacturer TomTom to trial a bespoke data feed covering the planned road closures for the event using DATEXII - an industry standard format for traffic event planning.
The London Marathon data feed will be updated ahead of the event to ensure that it has the latest road closures and reopening times. Following this trial, TfL will look to engage with other sat-nav organisations to see how this data format could be more widely used to bring better information to road users.
On 6 April almost 50 developers attended a "Hack Day" held at Amazon Web Services to see how traffic data from TfL's sophisticated traffic signal system SCOOT could be interrogated to provide further data feeds. All across London tiny sensors are buried in the road, which detect vehicles as they pass over them. This information is then sent to TfL's Urban Traffic Control system, which uses it to automatically adjust traffic signals across London every second to ensure that traffic flows as best as it can.
Currently, this data is only used for this specific purpose. However, TfL is keen to see whether this data could, in part, be made available to developers to help create further services and insight in the future. These could include identifying incidents on the network more quickly or identifying hotspots on the road network based on date and time more accurately.
Local businesses and organisations can also apply for transport information display boards or Digital signs.
To get TfL's open data developers can sign up for free at api.tfl.gov.uk
LGA and ODI work together to improve local authority publishing standards
Separately, the Open Data Institute today announced that it is working with the Local Government Association to improve the way that local authorities publish and use data, by publishing three online learning modules and a series of webinars to advise councils on how to publish quality, consistent data.
The guides are designed to allow councils to get a better insight about the operation of services, needs of citizens, and target resources where they are needed most.
ODI said that the adoption of standards also helps in sharing and connecting data across and with other organisations to get a broader understanding about needs, and to tackle them collaboratively, instead of taking measures in isolation.
From May through to July, the ODI is to host a series of private webinars, for more information see the LGA learning modules.