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Author Topic: Joint Rail Data Action Plan  (Read 248 times)
stuving
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« on: August 09, 2018, 05:21:30 pm »

DfT and RDG today announced some plans to make more and/or better data about railway operations available.

Quote
The objectives of this Joint Rail Data Action Plan are to improve the Quality and Openness of rail data, and in doing so it will;
a. Create an environment that encourages industry to work together to develop innovative solutions which challenge and tackle long-standing issues e.g. Stock and Crew co-ordination, customer information during disruption, efficiently managing maintenance and upgrades on the railway and reducing costs.
b. Give passengers access to more consistent, coordinated and useful information about their journey, enabling them to make informed choices about their journeys.
c. Give tech start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and developers a platform to collaborate and partner with the industry in order to develop innovative and game-changing web and mobile travel applications for passengers.
d. Improve data matching and aggregation, enabling end-users such as government, data scientists and the Open-Data community to produce better reports and carry out analysis more accurately and efficiently.
e. Create an environment which can be used to actively and efficiently manage rail assets reducing failures and minimising delay impact on the passenger.
f. Put the railway at the forefront of enabling and facilitating Mobility as a Service and Intelligent Mobility.
We will meet these objectives by addressing the barriers that are summarised through five overarching themes:
1. Data Transparency,
2. Data Use and Access,
3. Data Quality and Standards,
4. Data Value and Principles,
5. Rail Culture and Information / Data Skills.
These themes were developed through a combination of stakeholder engagement and research undertaken by an external consultancy, CACI.

Most of the concrete proposals are about committees to think about things to do, starting with finding out what already exists. That sounds a bit odd, but some of the current systems were topsy-sourced starting many years ago. In addition, there are some new data releases already planned:

List of RDG’s Future Data Releases

Date of ReleaseName of DatasetDescription
Autumn 2018Darwin4Trains serviceA new feed that provides developers with a
train centric version of the Darwin feed. It is
designed for providing information to
customers on board a train.
2018/19TLMS (train movement service)-
Customer Information GPS data
GPS information linked to a train given pin
point accurate location data and arrival time
prediction.
2018/19CTI Connecting Train IdentifierPublishing data about the physical
carriages making up a train, allowing
specific information about facilities to be
related to a service. Future versions will
describe how many carriages a particular
train has, to help passengers know where to
stand on the platform and how busy it is
likely be, as well as precise information on
any delays being experienced. Data will
also be made available to follow each train’s
movements on a map, as well as
information on which train service is being
run by which particular train.
April 2019Route service indicatorA data feed that will provide an indicator of
the service and scale of any disruption
between any two points on the Network.



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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 07:39:22 pm »

DfT and RDG today announced some plans to make more and/or better data about railway operations available.

Many thanks for that link / info.   Been a bit busy today ... in any case this is future stuff.  But I will come back to it in due course.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 10:54:58 pm »

It is quite difficult to pick through the dense verbiage of this announcement!

However, for passengers points (b) and (e) look like good news. I am not certain what the "train centric version of the Darwin feed" means. There is also an overuse of jargon - see in particular paragraphs 1 to 5. Data transparency and data values and principles sound meaningless to passengers, and "Rail Culture" can often seem to mean "we've done it this way for years and cannot see why we should change simply to make life easier for passengers" to those of us who use the railways and are frustrated by the fobbing off we receive when we complain.

It would be nice to see some clearer aims for passenger information systems. How about-

1 - All passenger information systems kept up to date simultaneously with correct and consistent information provided on-line, on station information displays and signage and announcements on trains.

2 - Realistic estimates, updated regularly on all such systems of arrival times and  length of time to fix problems, with truthful explanations of problems.

3 - Details of alternative services or transport arrangements, with clear instructions and explanations for any major incident involving closure of a line.

4 - An objective being to develop a system to enable passengers to monitor connecting services, and information for staff on trains and at stations to plan arrangements to facilitate connections and advise passengers of these arrangements.

5 - No assumption that passengers have access to any on-line resource, and a recognition that a proportion of the travelling public rely primarily on signage and announcements at stations and on trains.

If these (or something like them) could be incorporated as fundamental principles we might see some real improvements, and something we can measure the success 
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stuving
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 11:13:54 pm »

It is quite difficult to pick through the dense verbiage of this announcement!

However, for passengers points (b) and (e) look like good news. I am not certain what the "train centric version of the Darwin feed" means. There is also an overuse of jargon - see in particular paragraphs 1 to 5. Data transparency and data values and principles sound meaningless to passengers, and "Rail Culture" can often seem to mean "we've done it this way for years and cannot see why we should change simply to make life easier for passengers" to those of us who use the railways and are frustrated by the fobbing off we receive when we complain.

It would be nice to see some clearer aims for passenger information systems. How about-

I think you've rather missed the point - maybe by just looking at that short quote, rather than the full document? The plan is about the data that's made available, and how it's done, not about how that open data feed is turned into information and presented to passengers or the public in general. For one thing they are asking for "innovators" with ideas for that next step to do it themselves, or in some cases to join this:

Quote
As part of this Joint Rail Data Action Plan, the Department for Transport is working with the Rail Delivery Group, Network Rail and Rail Safety and Standards Board to host an innovation event called the Rail Data Challenge.
The Rail Data Challenge is an open invitation for innovators, developers and tech experts to develop new technologies to address three current rail challenges using new and existing datasets.
Challenge winners will get the opportunity to pitch for funding from industry and private investors to demonstrate their solution into rail. This competition will take place from 16 August and will conclude with a Demo Day on 15 October.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 06:24:27 am »

These are data feeds for the 'geeks' that we're talking about - and a geekiness  in the specification.  The presentation of such data to the end user comes through the likes of Real Time Trains, Open Train Data and Recent Train Times.

The utility of the (new?) data comes with what can be mined from it, and how reliable the conclusions and presentations from it are.  And that is a function of the quality of the initial inputs, the completeness of what's provided such that guesswork can be taken out, and the quality of data handling and presentation by the third party sites using it.  I have great faith in those latter - the three existing ones I've listed are excellent and the good will come to the to surface in a competitive pool.  The quality and completeness of the data feeds is where any potential holes could lie, and that is a single industry source so any issues would sadly relate to all applications using it, not just to an individual application.

Having thrown in a word of caution - my goodness - the existing applications are pretty darned good, showing a pretty darned good application on a pretty darned good feed ... and I look to seeing more in the future.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 10:05:21 pm »

Thanks both - yes, I clearly did not understand what this was all about!

As a result of Graham's post, I have looked at the three sites he mentions. The first and last are most useful for a regular passenger like myself, the latter confirming that the last few weeks have not been good on my regular commute and my regular trains. I will use it to monitor the situation - it may provoke some grumpy posts in the North Downs and Reading/Oxford line sections of this site if the results do not improve.
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