4 years of advancing data for public transport

The DATA4PT project started nearly 4 years ago (January 2020), aiming to smoothen and advance Europe’s multimodal transport by advancing data-sharing practices in the sector. Since then, under the lead of Coordinator UITP and Technical Manager ITxPT, much has been done to put data at the heart of public transport. Anastasia Founta from ITxPT gives us all the insights.

Looking back at the last few years and the objectives we set at the start of the project, what have been the main achievements of DATA4PT?

Many things have happened during these 4 years. When the project started many EU Member States had no published multi-modal data at all in their National Access Points, or they were publishing datasets with significant errors, which made them not interoperable and not useful for re-use. The usage of EU multimodal data exchange standards of  theTransmodel ecosystem was fragmented without a clear view why to be adopted widely and what they offer for stakeholders that are not directly involved in standardisation work.

Therefore, during the first 2 years of the project our focus was to create the necessary conditions to enable stakeholders to overcome main challenges they were facing regarding Transmodel standards adoption and compliance with the obligations of the Delegated Regulation MMTIS 1926/2017 with the best way.

In this respect, project achievements are (1) the delivery of an open-source and easy to use validation tool for NeTEx (planned data for public transport) datasetsso called Greenlight; (2) the “helpdesk”, setting up a group of experts who can reply to any kind of questions from any type of stakeholders; (3) the delivery of trainings and best practice exchange events in the name of DATA4PT Stakeholder Fora; and (4) the production of supportive material, guidelines and wiki page. The definition of EU profiles on SIRI real-time and NeTEx planned data were also two achievements in collaboration with the relevant CEN working groups as well as the maintenance of technical artefacts and updates.

DATA4PT Stakeholders Forum, 29 November 2022

Now and during this last year, we can see the achievements of the project as a footprint on the wider mobility ecosystem. Member States (MS) like Italy Croatia, Czechia, Slovenia and Portugal built their NAP using DATA4PT resources from scratch. Now they can deliver planned data – NeTEx datasets- that are validated and it is planned to increase the number of publications as well. MS like Austria, Denmark, France improved the published data and introduced the validation tool in their processes. Sweden advanced with the publication of real time data in SIRI format. Public transport authorities and operators like STA Bolzano, Wiener Linen, Metropolitan area of Porto, Movia of Copenhagen and more, adopted the Transmodel EU standards in their operations. And finally, IT suppliers of transport authorities and operators improved their services by making use of the capacity building DATA4PT resources.

DATA4PT works closely together with Implementing bodies all across Europe. How are these collaborations taking shape? And what do you hear from these bodies about the support provided by DATA4PT?

Reaching out to the implementing bodies all across Europe and collaborating with them was one of the main goals of the project and not an easy one. This task was tackled in different levels. All partners and involved parties have contributed through several activities to build strong collaborations.

Through MS partners of the project, collaboration between national stakeholders was reinforced under the umbrella of DATA4PT activities. Such activities were the organisation of trainings and DATA4PT Stakeholder Forum events, exchange events, and the creation of the NeTEx data validator, greenlight. The DATA4PT experts’ team also built liaisons with other important actors like standardisation bodies and initiatives, contributing to raising awareness.

Activities such as stakeholders’ fora, workshops, webinars, and the helpdesk gave the opportunity to reach out a mix of actors, leading in collaboration with most of them. Also, very important achievement in the field of collaboration and reaching out implementing bodies across Europe, was the participation of ITxPT and UITP in the NAPCORE project, due to our role as coordinator and technical manager of DATA4PT. The aim was to bring the multimodal aspect on the frontstage and bridge activities with road sector, as in many cases high level implementing bodies are responsible for all mobility sectors.

The exchange with the stakeholders through all the different channels, showed that DATA4PT support is very much appreciated, make it the main – easy to reach- point of contact for different inquiries and requests. After almost 4 years, the acknowledgement of DATA4PT has increased substantially. We can see an increasing pace in the adoption of the standards by transport operators and authorities, as well as in the provision of dataset in national access points in counties, following the European standards.

The ITxPT YouTube account includes many DATA4PT trainings and other resources on EU data standards

What has been proven challenging in the project?

In the beginning of the project the main challenge was to raise awareness and explain the added value of adopting the Transmodel standards and sharing standardised data of high quality to the NAPs. Now our main challenge is to respond to the increased interest and request of support and build necessary technical knowledge in the implemetation of these standards by different type of stakeholders in different context. To address this, we improve our toolbox and our network of experts in national and European level.

DATA4PT Workshop at the UITP Summit (June 2023, Barcelona)

DATA4PT ends next year. What are the plans until then?

Our focus now and for the next months is to continue our effort as consortium to support technically data producers to provide standardised multimodal data to NAPs. We will complete the technical work on NeTEx Fares European profile, to deliver it to CEN before the end of the project. Also, we will continue to produce training material focusing on specific examples of how the NeTEx and SIRI standards can be used. One key activity will be also to centralise and coordinate all the different channels of information regarding the Transmodel standards like websites, DATA4PT wiki page, technical repositories (i.e. github) and make all the available documentation easily accessible and useful for different type of audience. Last but not least, we will continue to raise awareness about the need and the benefits of standardising interfaces and harmonising the current ecosystem to serve interoperability in mobility sector.

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