Reading Buses throws open its data to everyone at no cost

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Reading Buses is opening all its data to anyone who can make use of it, with the firm hoping to reap benefits from analysis.

Already, a link between pollution caused by congestion and likelihood of minor accidents with Reading Buses has been established. 

Says John Bickerton, Head of Engineering & Innovation at Reading Buses: “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.”

The company hopes to see ongoing growth in their customer numbers by embracing this digital agenda, and it follows the launch of new buses on its orange and royal blue routes, its acceptance of contactless bank cards and updated mobile app.

Last week Reading Buses took part in an Open Data Hackathon at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts at Shinfield Park.

Reading Buses used the event to launch their 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 winning projects took the same information that drives the company's new app and looked at links between local air pollution and bumps and scrapes on the buses.

“The true benefit of open weather and climate data comes through combining them with other open data sources,” said Florian Rathgeber, computational scientist at ECMWF and organiser of the Open Data Hack.

“This combination helps better understanding the impact of weather on bus times and being able to better predict anticipated changes to the regular timetable.”