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Railhub Archive
2014-05-21 RDG-001
Rail Delivery Group


Up to the minute train information to be made available to developers for free

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Rail Delivery Group

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Rail Delivery Group

Up to the minute train information to be made available to developers for free

21 May 2014
source Rail Delivery Group
type Press release

The rail industry is to make it much easier for people and organisations, including public sector bodies, to use live train-running information to develop apps and other online tools.

From next month, public sector organisations and small commercial or private users will be able to access the National Rail Enquiries (NRE) Darwin system for free, the Rail Delivery Group has announced.

Darwin is the NRE information service paid for by train operators which analyses raw data from numerous rail industry sources to predict the arrival times of trains.

Until now, a number of organisations and developers that use the service have been charged and required a license.

Only the biggest commercial or private users whose services are used more than five million times under the new arrangements in a four week period will still be charged.

One of NRE’s existing clients will fall into this category, and for at least two years this client will be charged the same or less. If other commercial developers’ services grow to be used over five million times in a four week period, they will begin to incur charges.

Free access will also be granted to public bodies, including Transport for London, Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) and local authorities, regardless of how many requests for information their customers make.

For all users, a licence will no longer be required. Instead, they will need to agree to terms and conditions on a website, making it quicker and easier to set up new services. 523 services are licensed to access Darwin, 26 of which have until now incurred a charge.

Making it easier for people and organisations to use NRE’s live train-running information will help to ensure that more passengers consistently get the highest quality information about their services.

Other changes to NRE services also announced today include:

o Giving developers greater availability of information about service disruptions
o Making it easier for passengers using NRE to find information about the route/s on which their ticket is valid
o Providing developers with more information about interchanges between national rail and other modes of transport, such as DLR or tube

Over the last decade, train companies and Network Rail have put into the public domain an ever-increasing range of information and data, making Britain’s railway one of the most transparent in Europe.

David Brown, RDG lead on transparency and chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group, said:

“The rail industry already publishes more information and data than many business sectors and leads the way among European railways, and we are committed to going further. Better access for developers to live train information will make it easier for even more passengers to get the most up to date information about trains where and when they need it.”


Notes to editors

The RDG brings together the owners of Britain's passenger train operating companies, freight operators and Network Rail to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry.

NRE already provides 17 other information services to third parties for free, including details of on-the-day timetable changes, ticket types, ticket restrictions, and improvement works.

NRE works with 210 third party clients who operate 656 live services. It has encouraged developers to make use of its services by:

o Setting up a developer forum on LinkedIn – which has over 200 members
o Holding regular developer forums to encourage conversations with developers
o Recruiting a client relationship manager to improve take up of its services

To help fund the cost of Darwin, NRE will continue to charge only the biggest commercial or private users whose services are used more than five million times under the new arrangements in a four week period. NRE does not profit from third party use of Darwin and will now have higher usage thresholds and lower charges than other providers with similar arrangements.

Darwin takes data feeds from numerous industry sources and processes them to create predictions. It has been widely available to the public for over a decade and third party licensing of its information began in 2005. Since then, 96 smartphone apps have been licensed and more than 11 million have been downloaded. Darwin will feed all station information screens by March 2015.

The intellectual property in Darwin is owned by Train Information Services (TIS) Ltd – the company owned by franchised TOCs that provides NRE services.

NRE is the UK’s most popular destination for train and travel information. Paid for and run by train companies, its website and other services receive well over a million enquiries every weekday.

Free access to Darwin will be granted to public bodies unless it is being used for commercial purposes.

The RDG has agreed five principles for extending transparency across Britain’s railway.

Railhub Archive ::: 2014-05-21 RDG-001


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