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 15 April 2010

National Public Transport Access Nodes

Posted in: Transport              

2 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Daniel Chick

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Transport

Information Asset: NaPTAN data for all bus stops and stations in the UK

The problem

Access to the location of public transport access points across the UK.

http://www.travelinedata.org.uk/datausers.htm

Access to the data available at this URL, but for commercial purposes.

My ideal solution

Access to the data in structured format.

What I would do

Providing information to public transport users.

Posted at Thursday, 15 April 2010 12:19:30 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

 14 April 2010

Parking Fine Statistics

Posted in: Statistics | Transport              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Haydn Chapman

Public Sector Information Holder: Transport

Information Asset: Parking Fines issued by street/area, only date + time of fine is required

The problem

I and a number of friends have been issued parking fines over the UK and I am wondering where the hotspots are for fining so that I can avoid specific areas just in case I am unable to return to my car within the non-permit holder areas in time.

My ideal solution

The time + date of parking fines issued both on permit only, non-permit within time periods and all other areas so that I can calculate where to make sure I don't leave my car by the frequency of fines given out for that area.

What I would do

I would look to determine which areas are high risk of being given a parking fine and therefore make sure I can avoid those areas.

Posted at Wednesday, 14 April 2010 08:44:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [2] #   

 25 March 2010

Acts of Parliament Pre-1988

Posted in: Parliament | Transport              

3 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Matthew Searle

Public Sector Information Holder: The Stationery Office

Information Asset: Acts of the UK Parliament, original full text

The problem

Pre-1988 availability of pdf full texts of Acts at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts is patchy. The following key Acts which would be valuable to transport historians are omitted: Railways Regulation Act 1844; Act for Constituting Commissioners for Railways 1846; Railway Construction Facilities Act 1864; Regulation of Railways Act cap.76 1873; Cheap Trains Act 1883; Regulation of Railways Act 1893; Light Railways Act 1901; Transport Act 1947

My ideal solution

For at least the above-listed Acts to have pdf full text included in http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts

What I would do

This information would be publicised by the Railway & Canal Historical Society, including a link from its website, and notified to kindred organisations

Posted at Thursday, 25 March 2010 10:15:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [1] #   

 30 September 2009

Train timetable information

Posted in: Transport              

214 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Andrew Bissell

Public Sector Information Holder: Network Rail and/or National Rail Enquiries

Information Asset: Timetable, Journey Planning and Real-Time Train Running Time Information

The problem

Free and low-priced WebApps and Apps were available on the iPhone via the built-in browser and the AppStore until National Rail Enquiries decided in Spring 2009 to kill them off by denying them the use of the rail timetabling and other information they needed to work.

Simultaneously National Rail Enquiries introduced its own App on the AppStore at a price of £4.99. While that may seem low, it is both high compared to other Apps (that were either free or low priced) and against the fact that Network Rail's information is still free of charge to the end user via the National Rail Enquiries website.

National Rail Enquiries seems to object to third party applications and websites reformatting its data. Yet many users complain that the new National Rail Enquiries App is less functional than the applications like MyRail Lite and UK Train Times that it replaces.

To summarise:
- National Rail Enquiries insists that 3rd parties can't repackage its data on train timetables
- Thereby it kills off several competitors
- Simulateneously it releases its own £4.99 product
- There is no other source (all competitors have been killed off)
- National Rail Enquiries acquires a monopoly position on provision of mobile data on train times and related information

Note: I am not a developer of iPhone Apps or webapps. I don't have a direct affiliation with any of these entities. I am a frustrated individual who wants train times on my iPhone but isn't willing to pay National Rail Enquiries for a more limited App than the free ones they quashed, especially as to buy it would be to reward them for making unavailable data that was formerly freely available for re-packaging.

References:
- Reviews of National Rail Enquiries App on the Apple AppStore
- http://moconews.net/article/419-uk-train-authority-banning-unofficial-mobile-apps/
- http://moconews.net/article/419-uk-train-agency-investigated-for-threatening-mobile-developers/

My ideal solution

1. Determine whether this is public data or not.

a. It seems on the face of it that the information required to allow the public to be at the station at the right time to catch a train, and to know where it is going, belongs in and to the public realm, and people should have choice how they access it.
b. It seems that National Rail Enquiries only exists because of the Public Sector licensing of Rail Franchises to the Train Operators who, through ATOC (the Association of Train Operating Companies). Therefore the Franchise system may oblige them (or could be amended to oblige them) to release this information freely.
c. ATOC can only run their trains on the tracks of Network Rail. For operational reasons one assumes that Network Rail must be informed of the planned and actual operational schedule of every train on the network. Network Rail is in public ownership. Does Network Rail constitute a viable second source of this information free of the restrictions ATOC/National Rail Enquiries wishes to impose? Can Network Rail be imposed upon to deliver this data to the public realm?

2. If the data is public, arrange for Network Rail or National Rail Enquiries to make it available again to 3rd parties by:
a. Rescinding its former notifications to developers of competing apps and webapps
b. Publicly stating its access policy is open
c. Publishing APIs for access better than "screen scraping"

3. If the data is determined to be not public under any formulation of current legislation (per 1 a, b c suggestions, or other), ask legislators to re-consider whether it should be.

Other examples of very useful categories that amount to web-mediated / app-mediated re-formulations of information include:
- Price comparison websites (Kelkoo.com, Pricerunner.com, Comparethemarket.com, uSwitch, ...)
- Travel information sites for air travel (Skyscanner.net)

Do we want companies to be able to say "aha - I see that ATOC managed to successfully block access to the data that allows consumers to make choices - now they can make money charging for that information - or when they want they can deny it completely (witness National Rail Enquiries App doesn't offer any way to comparison shop ticket prices)" The net result is likely to be a massive weakening of consumer power, massive increase in power to dominant suppliers leading to monopoly.

4. Persuade ATOC/National Rail Enquiries at the highest level that they are in the business of selling seats on trains, and that reducing access to information about them is against their best interests.

Making £4.99 per app download surely doesn't compare with the volume of seats they sell.

I have no doubt they will claim that they have to charge for their app to cover their development costs. This of course ignores that:
a. 3rd parties were prepared to offer the same apps free of charge
b. National Rail Enquiries offers the same information free of charge on its own website - as long as you have it "their way"

So they need never have developed their own app - they just need to allow the eco-system of apps surrounding the timetable and journey information to thrive. This would be in their best interests as a way to encourage more journeys by train.

What I would do

Notify the developers of MyRail Lite and similar applications that they can recommence offering their service to the community of travellers.

I would also encourage Skyscanner.Net to include train times as alternatives to flight times on their service. This might have a significant carbon reduction impact.

Posted at Wednesday, 30 September 2009 08:26:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [3] #   

 5 December 2008

National Street Gazetteer

Posted in: IDeA | Local Authorities | Transport              

6 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information

Public Sector Information Holder: Local Government Information House (LGIH)

Information Asset: National Street Gazetteer (NSG)

The problem

At the Open Knowledge Foundation Workshop on Finding and Re-using Public Information, a list of 15-20 key government / public datasets were identified. The National Street Gazetteer was one of these. It holds details of every street in England, providing a complete list. It is used as a framework for sharing and integrating data, particularly to support Street Works Notices.

Supply of data from the National Street Gazetteer is on a commercial basis and involves the payment of a significant fee. It would be better if this dataset were made freely available, on the web, to support a variety of other uses.

My ideal solution

Free access to the NSG, particularly for non-commercial or experimental re-use.

What I would do

The NSG is a core dataset which would be useful to support many other types of application, particularly in the transport area. Just the list of cycleways would be useful, say to support cycling community initiatives on the web.

Posted at Friday, 05 December 2008 16:16:23 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #   

 15 September 2008

National Public Transport Data Repository

Posted in: Transport              

48 Supporters so far - add your name

Posted by: Tom Steinberg

Public Sector Information Holder: Department for Transport

Information Asset: National Public Transport Data Repository

The problem

This dataset contains a snapshot of timetable information across the UK and across many modes of transport, bus, train etc.

mySociety needs this dataset in order to produce real-time versions of the currently non-interactive isochrone travel time maps found here:

http://www.mysociety.org/2007/more-travel-maps/

These maps would have a tangible impact on UK citizens' ability to choose places to live and work that made sense to optimise their commutes.

My ideal solution

We would like this dataset to be made available for free, not for £7500, for the whole of the UK. We would also like it to be made available for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, as we expect that the revenue generated from letting people build experimental business models around it would probably be greater than making people buy first.

What I would do

We would produce an interactive mapping service where users could pick and location in the UK and have isochrone maps based on multi-model public transport journey times drawn for them. These would then help people work out the best places to live to have easy and quick commutes.

If the information was made available for commercial use, we would then start to sell maps like this to commercial buyers who want extra features.

Posted at Monday, 15 September 2008 12:10:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  Comments [0] #