Data Policy

For transport data, OpenGov actions can speak louder than words


If you have ever wondered why there is such great public transport information available around the world on Google Maps compared to the UK, this Early Day Motion from Tom Watson MP will give you a major clue.

So here is a great opportunity to test Government rhetoric about making government data that would be useful for citizen services freely available, and it’s hard to find a case against this particular type of data,  just ask the residents of  Los Angles, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, New York, Boston, Lisbon,Moscow,Zurich, Delhi, Adelaide and nearly 100 more cities around the world.

I often talk about how making information available can change peoples behaviour and the availability of this type of information, via multiple channels including the web and mobile devices is just such an example; remove the “unknown” from using public transport planning and more people will use it.

Written and submitted from the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Uganda (0.238N, 32.623E

2 replies on “For transport data, OpenGov actions can speak louder than words”

It simple beggars belief that an MP should have to even raise the issue. Most transport services in the UK receive public subsidy in one way or another. It should be a basic requirement: if you get public money at all, then all relevant data falls in the public domain. No ifs, buts, exclusions. Simple.

hi ed

be careful for what you wish for as there’s a bit of double-speak in your post–google have had access to a great deal of transport data that other parties have continually been denied access to, requiring protracted discussions and even litigation (which, as you can surmise, would obviously be successful). it’s clear google has tremendous visibility within public organizations and if used for good, it is a great way to liberate data of all stripes. but recognize your number one priority is to make such data available for use within google products and services. a *very* distant second mandate is to make such data available to the general public. examples in the US, UK and other areas abound–why should my company have to take legal action against a transit authority to simply be on the same playing field as google?

there’s a substantial difference between claiming openness and supporting it in a material way. this is easily evidenced by seeing how many agencies make their raw (or GTFS) data freely available v. those who make it available only via google transit–if nothing else, this should give you pause before making such aspirational claims, many of which you are in a position to affect.


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