Open Knowledge International

Open Up Public Transport Data


The problem

Open transport data has the potential to greatly benefit both citizens and the public sector. Public transport will only be widely used if the service is effective, efficient and user-friendly. Information that can help citizens plan their journey in advance can help enhance service and ultimately facilitate greater use. Additionally, although the transport service may be run by a private company, most of the information is non-sensitive and may be released openly. Therefore municipalities and local governments should put forth effort in opening the information on public transport under machine-readable and easy to use formats.

The solution

UK’s Transport for London, ODImpact: This case study, part of the ODImpact work created by the GovLab, shows how opening transport data stimulates economic growth.

Open Transport: This community group within the Open Knowledge Network could be leveraged to use transport data for public use, rather than simply private sector innovation. Some cities have meetups around transportation data, such as the Transport Techies meetup. Outreach to these groups presents an opportunity for governments to assess the needs, priority datasets around transportation data.

Open Street Map Belgium: This tool, managed by Open Knowledge Belgium, helps demonstrate the appetite for transport and geospatial data.

Nairobi Mapping of Informal Transit System: The community mapping effort shows an example of data collection from the bottom up

City Open Data Census: Tools like the City Census demonstrate that the release of transit data can be more easily achieved at municipal or state level than at the national level, so doesn’t always make sense to include this in national level assessments. When possible, national governments could work to aggregate these municipal datasets at the national level.

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