More than 2,000 new developers sign up for TfL’s open data in last six months
Transport for London (TfL)'s extensive open data Application Program Interface (API) has seen more than 2,000 new developers sign up to access live information in the last six months - helping millions of Londoners plan their journeys more easily across the Capital.
The data, available free of charge at http://tfl.gov.uk/developers, forms part of TfL's wider commitment to make the information it holds openly available in order to assist developers in creating better products and services that can be brought to Londoners and visitors more quickly.
Around 8,200 developers are now registered for TfL's Unified API. As smartphone usage for travel information continues to increase, almost 500 apps are now being directly powered by this open data - providing Londoners with up-to-the-minute information about public transport and the road network.
TfL continues to make new open data feeds available with live data for London Trams due to be added in the coming weeks. For the first time, this will allow people in south London to know at the touch of a button when their tram will arrive and the status of their service. TfL is also working to test the release of historical crowding data about key London Underground stations to see if this can help stimulate new information products, including the predicted future status of the system at certain times.
As well as maintaining its existing open data feeds, TfL continues to further improve them to help ensure developers can make the most of all available data. Ahead of the London Marathon, TfL has worked with the sat-nav manufacturer TomTom to trial a bespoke data feed covering the planned road closures for the event using DATEXII - an industry standard format for traffic event planning.
The data feed is available for free by visiting http://londonmarathon.data.tfl.gov.uk/ and will be updated ahead of the event to ensure that it has the latest road closures and reopening times. Following this trial, TfL will look to engage with other sat-nav organisations to see how this data format could be more widely used to bring better information to road users.
TfL continues to be at the forefront of using open data to work on city challenges. Last week (6 April), almost 50 developers attended a "Hack Day" held at Amazon Web Services to see how traffic data from TfL's sophisticated traffic signal system SCOOT could be interrogated to provide further data feeds. All across London tiny sensors are buried in the road, which detect vehicles as they pass over them. This information is then sent to TfL's Urban Traffic Control system, which uses it to automatically adjust traffic signals across London every second to ensure that traffic flows as best as it can.
Currently, this data is only used for this specific purpose. However, TfL is keen to see whether this data could, in part, be made available to developers to help create further services and insight in the future. These could include identifying incidents on the network more quickly or identifying hotspots on the road network based on date and time more accurately.
Phil Young, Head of Online at TfL, said: `Across London, millions of people every day use apps powered by our open data to check the Tube, find a bus or see how the roads are running.
`This same data powers our website, allowing customers to choose between using tfl.gov.uk or simply downloading any apps which are directly powered by us. We are committed to making our information freely available to help stimulate new products and services so that people have better information in the form that best suit them.'
Alan Bristow, Director of Road Space Management and Chair of the Surface Transport Data and Technology Steering Group at TfL, said: `London's traffic signal system is one of the most sophisticated in the world, analysing enough data to fill three DVDs every day.
`We're keen to see how this data could be used more widely to help predict issues on the network to help identify hot spots more quickly and this 'Hack Day' was the latest step towards developing new and exciting applications to help keep London moving.'
For more information about how TfL is making its open data free and accessible for all, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/developers
Notes to editors:
- For technical briefings on TfL's open data and how it could be used by developers, please contact the TfL Press Office
- TfL will be discussing existing as well as new data feeds and their potential applications at an Open Data evening hosted by Amazon Web Services on 21 April - https://awsloft.london/session/2016/74474575-6caa-4e01-af62-5c1cb63103f3
- Local businesses and organisations can apply for bespoke "Digital signs" which uses live bus arrival data to display up to four bus stops and a map of the local area - https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/business-and-commercial/commercial-opportunities/digital-signs
- To get TfL's open data developers can sign up for free at api.tfl.gov.uk