Real-time map of London Underground trains

At last. You may remember an earlier post, from the days when this blog was young, about a real-time map showing Swiss railway trains. You might even remember that mashup actually used timetable information rather than real data, but that in Switzerland there’s not much difference.

This London one actually uses live data from the TfL API, which is much more cool on several levels – especially since in London using the timetable as a substitute for real data wouldn’t be very good. It is really great that TfL seems to have gone so far in making its data available to developers – exactly as we called for in our report a couple of years ago.

I was about to be my usual snide self and point out that it wouldn’t be possible to use the map when you are actually on the underground, but these days quite a few stations have WiFi, so this is really starting to come together. Two cheers for TFL, and three for the app developers!

And an extra cheer for David Bradshaw, for telling me about this via Facebook.

TomTom reselling historical speed data to Dutch police


Now personally I think this is wonderful. Speeding is a good example of transport behaviour that is not sustainable. Making people driver slower is a good thing. They use less fuel, they cause fewer accidents, and if their journey takes a bit longer, well then it might reduce their appetite for unnecessary journeys.

That said, part of TomTom’s core proposition is that it makes driving nicer, and it must surely sell more kit and services to people who like things to do with driving and cars – rather than those who view cars and driving as a regrettable necessity.

So it’s at least possible that this story is going to be the sort of thing that will provoke a backlash from Clarksons or their Dutch equivalent (unless the Dutch are so wonderful that there just is no equivalent). If TomTom has thought about that and decided to go ahead anyway, hats off to it. If not, well then it might have a nasty shock coming.

The UK government frees a bit more public transport data

The National Public Transport Data Repository, to be precise, as described here, in this rather extensive article in The Guardian. In fact, my favourite newspaper doesn’t just write about the release, but also heads a crowd-sourcing/crowd-crunching exercise to do something useful with data. Still a long way from things like Swisstrains, which uses timetable data to provide a map of pseudo-realtime train movements, but knowing where the bus stops are is a start (and using British timetable information to simulate real-time information would be a bad idea – you have to be Swiss for that sort of thing).

Transport information breaks free!

In the Smarter Moves report, we called for transport operators to make their data available to application developers. Well, it seems to be happening…according to online newsletter Transport Xtra, “Bus timetable information has been made available for smartphone app developers for the first time in the UK.
The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive has made available full bus timetable data broken down for every stop. This follows Transport for London’s lifting of restrictions on the commercial reuse of their data in June.
An LTT-sponsored Travel 2020 event will provide the first national industry forum to discuss the harnessing of open source data, with Google and TTR leading the debate.”

I would put a link into the Transport Xtra site, but the article is behind a pay wall. For more detail on the TFL announcement, see here.