Transport authorities encouraged to share data

Urban Transport Group emphasises data issues within nine principles for ‘smart futures’

A grouping of local transport authorities has included an emphasis on data sharing among nine principles for its members to follow in developing new strategies in line with a ‘smart futures’ approach.

Tram in ManchesterThe Urban Transport Group (UTG) – which includes the public transport authorities for London, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, the North-East, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire – has emphasised the priorities in its Smart Futures – our vision for urban transport report.

It focuses on the role that public sector transport authorities will need to play to maximise the benefits from new technology, identifying the sharing of data between the authorities as a key measure.

One of the principles states this should be done when it best serves the interest of travellers, the efficient operation of transport systems and the wider goals of their cities. The UTG has set up an ‘emerging data’ group to push for progress on the data-related issues in the report.

The other eight principles are to:

  • Recognise the pace of change and potential benefits.
  • Seek to ensure that technological change makes travel simpler and easier.
  • Recognise their own key role in trust, assurance, privacy and impartiality.
  • Consider the implications of change within their organisations.
  • Recognise their role in facilitating and supporting change.
  • Look for opportunities to adopt common standards and regulatory frameworks.
  • Create internal networks to learn from each other.
  • Ensure they do not leave some sectors of society behind.

Vernon Everitt, managing director, customers, communication and technology for Transport for London and the lead for the UTG on smart futures, said: “Technology is developing rapidly. While no one can say exactly what the future will look like, what is certain is that as transport authorities we have a key and unique role to play in shaping its development.

“We have set out clear principles of how we will ensure that technological change benefits individual transport users and supports the growing, inclusive and healthy cities that we all want to see.

“As members of a network, each city will take a different approach. But the principles we have set out today represent a clear statement of how the UK’s largest transport authorities will approach technological change.”

The report also says that technology is transforming urban transport in four key ways:

  • New and emerging data can help travellers make better informed choices and transport planners make better decisions.
  • A proliferation of new vehicle technologies can provide cleaner, smarter and more connected vehicles.
  • It allows for smarter and more integrated ways of paying for access to different modes of transport.
  • It enables new players in the transport market to offer new services, including those that relate to the wider shift from an ownership to a sharing economy.

Image by Magnus D, CC BY 2.0 through flickr