Reading Bus lets techies loose on its Open Data
Reading Buses used an Open Data Hackathon at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts to launch its own open data strategy to around 60 attendees who worked through the night to understand links between different data sets, including many years of historic weather data, and to predict future patterns using machine learning.
One of the projects took the information which drives the company’s new app and looked at links between local air pollution and bumps and scrapes on buses.
The data showed a link between pollutants from congestion and the likelihood of minor accidents.
“Our open data launch allows people to pull data from our servers and analyse it,” says Tony Pettitt, chief finance and information officer. “They can link it with other information to build apps and put our information on the map.
“Our app allows customers to plan journeys, see live positions of all our buses and pay for journeys too. This initiative allows access to that same data - and more - to developers and budding app coders.”
Florian Rathgeber, computational scientist at ECMWF and organiser of the Open Data Hack, adds: “The true benefit of open weather and climate data comes through combining them with other open data sources.
“This combination helps better understanding of the impact of weather on times and being able to better predict anticipated changes to the regular timetable.”
John Bickerton, head of engineering & innovation Reading Buses, says: “This open data agenda will allow us to work on punctuality, reliability and to understand our customers better to provide travel links wherever they’re most popular.
“Access to our Open Data server is via the web and interested parties should apply to us for a password and key, at no cost, to start pulling data from our servers.”