Users of public transport have benefited from many technological improvements in recent years. These have included public transport journey planning using single or multiple modes of transport, extending the journey planning to include walking times from home or between transport nodes, displaying real time information at waiting points, and even moving to on-demand public transport in remote areas. These services typically involve both public and private operators and require a high degree of interoperability in both data and technology. The public sector is often an orchestrator in terms of the coordination and integration of the processes and data. There are good examples of public administrations providing open access to enable developers to create value added services for travellers. Multinational travel information services are coming more to the fore, with Google extending into travel services and specialist providers emerging (e.g. Rome2Rio).
In 2017, a Deloitte study, Assessing the value of TFL’s open data and digital partnerships, found that Transport for London generates economic benefits and savings of up to £130m each year, by opening up access to geospatial data – such as the locations of rail lines, embarkation points and facilities, and georeferenced data – such as timetables, transit status, and updates about disruptions and scheduled works. The benefits, which included reduced travel time, not needing to produce in-house apps and campaigns, job creation and revenue from new services were set against a relatively small estimated cost of around £1m per year for publishing the data openly, suggesting a significant return on investment.