Regulator calls for improved public access to live rail data

7 December 2012

Public access to real time train information (RTTI) could be improved, and passengers may not be seeing the full potential of open data on the railways, warned the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) today.

In April 2010, the Association of Train Operating Companies through National Rail Enquiries, published a Code of Practice for access to its RTTI database. ORR has since undertaken a review of how the Code has been applied in practice and recognises concerns from stakeholders, such as technology developers, that the Code is not ensuring easy access to live rail performance data.

ORR now wants to hear from all interested parties for their views on freeing up this important data. The regulator wants to ensure that the process is transparent, open and encouraging effective market competition.

ORR Chair, Anna Walker, said:

It is vital that passengers get the right information about their trains so that they can confidently plan and make their journeys. But passengers want more than this. They want to receive live information and they want it at their fingertips.
Developers can make an important contribution by bringing to market new products or services which meet this increasingly sophisticated demand. And the industry has a crucial role to play in encouraging developers to make use of the data they hold by demonstrating an open and progressive approach to allowing access.
However, our review of access arrangements to live performance data has revealed that National Rail Enquiries, which has significant control over real time train information data, could do better. We are now keen to hear views on new approaches to ensure passengers and the rail industry enjoy the full potential of data on the railways.

For more information about ORR's RTTI review and to find out how to contribute, visit Real time train information