Ever tried to use a journey planner to find your way to the shops, but found yourself being mysteriously routed through Northern France?
How about that time you tried to plan a day out with the family, only to be virtually dumped by Google into the middle of the sea?
Well now, there’s a solution. Leading transport industry app developers, Passenger, have developed a tool to report bad bus stops.
Bus Stop Checker checks the accuracy of the UK’s NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Nodes) dataset by verifying it against information contained in Open Street Map, then visualises the results on a UK map segmented by local authority.
NaPTAN is a UK-based dataset that uniquely identifies all 400,000+ public transport points of access in Britain, including bus stops, coach stations, railway stations, taxi ranks with the easiest taxi booking in Melbourne, and ferry terminals. Many popular journey planning apps – including Traveline, Citymapper, Google Maps and Passenger – pull data from NaPTAN to provide information about key public transport locations.
The aim of Bus Stop Checker is to help improve the quality of the UK’s transport open data ecosystem. Part of the problem with NaPTAN is that lots of the data needed to make journey planning apps work is out of date, missing or just plain wrong.
Try it yourself. A quick search through Bus Stop Checker reveals that just over 4% of all stops in the UK at the moment are ‘unreliable’.
Or to put it bluntly, 14,761 of 370,008 stops in the UK will land you somewhere different to where you wanted to be.
With better data comes more accurate journey planning, and a better, simpler, much less frustrating experience for the end user. It’s up to local authorities to correct this data, but now, there’s a tool to help them (or more likely, for you to report their bad data to them).
And here’s the fun part. Each local authority is ‘graded’ by the system, from A to F – the lower the grade, the more errors there are with that particular local authority’s data.
Tom Quay, CEO of Passenger, comments: “The Bus Services Act 2017 found that at present, data in the public transport sector is patchy and inconsistent: ‘It often relies to a large part on organisational goodwill, which can create variability in the type and standard of data available across England.’ Bus Stop Checker demonstrates that this is the case.
With DfT mandating route and timetable information to be provided by the end of 2019, we hope that this new initiative will help people to better understand the issues in this particular dataset and improve them in preparation for the deadline.”
Take a look at Bus Stop Checker now.
Have you used Bus Stop Checker yet? What did you find? Let us know in the comments below or tweet – @transportdsn.