As part of a long-term project to improve passenger experience, the UK Government is supporting the formation of the Rail Data Marketplace (RDM), a brand new way to maximise the use of rail-related data.
Thanks to £5 million being allocated to the project, the first steps can be taken to develop the RDM, which is hoped to be launched next year.
The main aim of the Rail Data Marketplace is to become the home of all rail-related data, from a combined effort between the Government and rail industry.
This data can then be used to develop apps for smartphones and other similar technology to help rail users make the best decisions when travelling.
For example, an app could be developed showing facilities and their status at stations, allowing passengers with specific requirements to make the right decisions for their needs and ensure their journey is straightforward and easy for them.
To date, there are apps currently on the market which use rail data to help users, but bring all the data onto the RDM will encourage further developments.
A case study showed the huge potential for the opening up of rail data can be seen with Transport for London, where after being opened up, the data was used in over 600 apps, which 42% of Londoner’s used. On top of this, over £130 million was saved and gained.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:“Sharing rail data like this opens up new and exciting possibilities for apps and websites that can make taking a train a smoother, quicker and better experience.
“Our reforms in the Williams Shapps Plan for Rail will put an end to the fragmentation of rail data in the industry and unleash new opportunities that will support innovation and enable data to power the services of the future.”
Simon Moorhead, Chief Information Officer at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Delivering the Rail Data Marketplace will build on the rail sector’s track record of opening up data to allow train operators, suppliers and new partners, such as tech companies, to innovate for the benefit of passengers.
“The Rail Delivery Group is pleased to be building this new service to make it easier for companies to sign up for rail data and work with the sector to open up new streams of information to help improve journeys.”
Rail Supply Group’s ‘Mobility and Data’ Champion, Chair Rail Data Council and CEO Worldline UK&I James Bain said: “Simplifying data access was highlighted in the original Rail Sector Deal as a key component of a flourishing, modern and advanced rail sector.
“Today’s announcement is a big step forwards and places the sector in an excellent position to move rail forward to match and even surpass other sectors such as air travel, in terms of the offer we can make to customers and clients.
“I am extremely pleased with the open collaboration across the Supply Chain, Network Rail, RSSB, UKRRIN and Train Operators and would like to thank Rail Delivery Group for their absolute commitment to delivering this initiative.”
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