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How data can help improve mobility

Launched on November 23 last year, the ‘Open Transit Data’ platform provides free access to the static and dynamic data of the state-run public buses in Delhi.

delhi Updated: Mar 30, 2019 17:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
OTD,open transit data,delhi govt
With the central government focusing on last-mile connectivity, transport planning experts say opening data of public transport systems (metro rail and buses) will help in improving mobility in cities.(HT Photo )

The Delhi government’s ‘open transit data’ (OTD) platform has attracted big players such as Google to collaborate with the city administration, officials working on the project said Friday.

Launched on November 23 last year, the OTD platform provides free access to the static and dynamic data of the state-run public buses in Delhi. Though the project covers only about 1,600 buses as of now, it has been developed to enable enterprises, third-party developers and researchers to collaborate with state transport department in improving Delhi’s public transport network.

Ever since its launch, the platform has received 600 registrations, said Pravesh Biyani, the platform’s project investigator. “Out of the 600 registrations, we have about 300 users who are using the platform for static data, which means seeking bus timings, routes and numbers. About a dozen others are regular users, including Google and a few startups. 20-30 others use the interface on a semi-regular basis,” he said.

Officials in the city’s transport department said on condition of anonymity that an announcement on the government’s collaboration with Google would be announced after the Lok Sabha polls. “At present, Google only has static data of our buses and metro. We are working on collaborating with the tech giant for telling people the real-time status of our buses,” the official said.

With the central government focusing on last-mile connectivity, transport planning experts say opening data of public transport systems (metro rail and buses) will help in improving mobility in cities.

With metro rail systems expanding its network in the country, experts say opening up of metro data like the ridership at each station, fares, train timing, etc., can be useful in providing efficient last-mile connectivity.

The Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), which started its operations in 2017, is the first metro network in the country to open its data. “It will help improve lastmile connectivity. Private players can use the data to come up with solutions to improve the mobility and provide solutions to improve last-mile connectivity. We are providing data about the ridership at each station. But this is static data, which is routinely updated,” said DK Sinha, director systems, KMRL.

Biyani, an associate professor at IIIT Delhi, said the model used by the Delhi government is far bigger and complex in its scope. “Kochi metro is talking about sharing only its schedule data. But, Delhi’s plan is to provide real-time data. A lot of researchers from the US, Australia, other than India have already begun using our data,” he said.

Experts say various cities across the world, such as London and New York, have opened up its data of public transport systems to make commute easy.

Madhav Pai, director sustainable cities, WRI India, said, “It will help commuters plan trips with accuracy. It will allow companies in the transport sector to organise their services to meet the demand based on ridership data.”

The opening of data in London and New York has led to the creation of over 100 apps in these cities to provide services to make commuting easy. Amit Bhatt, director integrated transport, WRI India, said, “The opening of transit data in London in 2007 has immensely benefited the city. Till 2016, 362 transit applications were developed with four million downloads. This shows that people relied on these applications. This has led to saving of 15 to 42 million pounds in commuting expenses.”

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 11:02 IST