South West Public Transport Information has gone national to offer improved data and hosting services to a wider audience.
This Plymouth Science Park-based company now offers real-time information and point-to-point fares in its main database product as standard. This will be rolled out more than two years ahead of Open Data requirements, which are likely to be introduced via the Bus Services Act in the future.
As a data aggregator and cloud-based platform provider, the company has widened its remit to offer services across the United Kingdom and upgraded its platform in the state of the art Plymouth Science Park data centre to support this expansion.
“Local authority and bus operator partners on our Board saw an opportunity to widen services to other providers in the public transport information sector against a changing national background,” says General Manager Ian Miller. “So we stepped up the basis on which we operate and have now confirmed work with South East, East Anglia, East Midlands and West Midlands regions for the foreseeable future. We are also speaking with other potential customers and are keen to offer a cost-effective, stable solution in providing data for Traveline and other users at a time of uncertainty and financial pressure for local authorities”.
SWPTI also offer website and mobile app hosting via a large, third party provider from bespoke London premises. But it is recent innovations to data powering the National Journey Planner database which underpins the big step up that the company has made. This dataset is part of the Traveline National Data Set and used by many app developers and information providers.
“The National Journey Planner was the first single dataset to underpin Great Britain wide, door to door journey planning,” explains SWPTI Data Manager Andy Hole. “Our users clearly wanted real time rather than scheduled information to base their enquiries on, an increasing proportion also want fares and ticket details to complete the picture before they set out on their journey. We now use real time as standard and have launched fares information.”
SWPTI’s own database covers an area from Lands End to Gloucestershire and the Solent, providing real time and disruption information plus ticket details for all services wherever available, together with an increasing amount of point to point fares information. Combined with data for the locally hosted regions and Transport for London, a potentially daily build creates a detailed database for most of England. Data is then imported for the north of England to give a complete Traveline England, Scotland and Wales database. This includes real time running information for the whole Great Britain rail network.
“We have extended our static XML API to update access to our data and are also set to provide a dynamic JSON API for developers who prefer that format”, said Miller. “We’re pleased to offer real time and fares information well ahead of the targets to be set in the Bus Services Act, but we will continue working with our partners to further improve outputs for users, for example by exploring links through to ticket sales.”