First open standard for transport account interoperability in UK launched

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A group of companies working in the transport and technology areas have release the first two Application Programming Interface (API) specifications to further the creation and adoption of open standards across the UK’s mobility industry.

The initiative was started early 2019 by Ideal Interface, a Scottish digital strategy, technology and marketing consultancy based in Glasgow, and The Open Transport Initiative then became official in October 2019. At the same time the draft Customer Account Specification was released for wider industry review. Since then there has been significant peer review, public workshops and presentations to ensure the standard has covered the interests of all relevant parties as much as possible.

The Open Transport Initiative has now launched Version 1 of the Open Transport API specifications and made them freely available for adoption. Seen as an initiative that is long overdue, this is the first time an Open Standard for transport customer account interoperability has been designed and made available free-of-charge to anyone in the transportation industry. Considerable effort from various transport and data specialists has gone into creating both the Customer Account and Centralised Operator Look-up Service API specifications. However, all the intellectual property created is being given away to the transportation industry, for the benefit of improving the customer experience.

The two specifications created and launched are:

  • Customer-account API – A standard way to facilitate peer-to-peer transport data sharing and account interoperability, allowing the customer to view all their transportation, mobility and associated data in one place. No more searching across various apps and websites to join-up journey, ticket and discount data;
  • Centralised Operator-info API – A centralised look-up for all transport operators and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms. This first-of-a-kind transport directory service (similar to the sort code directory within the Financial Services Industry) will provide unique reference information about each mode of transport or mobility organisation, including any publicly available Customer-account API locations.

Similar vertical markets are also creating Open APIs and developing public technology standards. This is done to reduce duplication of effort, create consistency across different platforms and vendors, but also to foster innovation across a wider developer community. In making this innovation a completely open and free-to-use standard for the transport industry, it is hoped that this will increase its adoption in this market too. The Open Transport Initiative says it is now in the hands of:

  • Transport authorities to mandate its use;
  • Transport providers to add it to their specifications and requirements;
  • Transport/mobility providers to include it as part of their offering as swiftly as possible.

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About Author

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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