App store

An online shop where apps can be found and downloaded to your mobile phone. The app store for Android devices is called the Play Store. The app store for Apple devices is actually called the ‘App Store’.

PBS (Public Bike Share)

Bike share can be broadly defined as any setting where bicycles are pooled for multiple users. Models include Public Bike Share (PBS) – self-service on-street docked or dockless stations – workplace pool bikes, train/bus station hubs, loans, lockers and peer to peer sharing.

PBS schemes often make their bike and bay/dock locations available as a public API. This means that other apps can display them in real time. These APIs usually follow the General Bikeshare Feed Specification standard, making it easier for software teams to consistently use this data. GBFS is loosely based on the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS).

The scheme operator is usually the technology provider as well as the provider of the transportation service.

Some notable providers in the UK are Beryl and nextbike.

NPTG (National Public Transport Gazetteer)

The NPTG is closely associated with the NaPTAN dataset and contains details of every city, town, village and suburb in Great Britain. This dataset is based on usage of names, rather than legal definitions and so includes local informal names for places as well as their official names.

As a topographic database of towns and settlements, it provides a common frame of reference for the National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN).

NextBuses API

An open API from Traveline. The API allows users to access live departure information by stop across Great Britain. Real-time information is provided where it is available and scheduled departures where not.

The API is based on the SIRI standard, using the SIRI-SM function through a request/response communication mechanism. SIRI is an XML protocol that allows the exchange of real-time information about public transport services and vehicles.

National Operator Code dataset (NOC)

The National Operator Code dataset (NOC) contains unique national operator codes that link to the local operator codes in the Traveline National Data Set (TNDS) and NextBuses API. A key part of the TNDS, its main purpose is to provide a single controlled list of (public service vehicle) operators and their public names. The NOC is used to convert local regional operator codes that might exist in exports from the Traveline regions to TNDS, or in real time feeds to the NextBuses API, to a single universal operator identity and associated code.

GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification)

The open data standard for bikeshare. GBFS makes real-time data feeds in a uniform format publicly available online, with an emphasis on findability.

Under the North American Bikeshare Association’s leadership, GBFS has been developed by public, private sector and non-profit bike share system owners and operators, application developers, and technology vendors.

GBFS is intended as a specification for real-time, read-only data – any data being written back into individual bikeshare systems are excluded from this spec.

TOTO (Tap On, Tap Off) contactless

Tap On, Tap Off is one of several names given to the type of contactless payment method that allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey and “tap” again on a reader when you complete your journey. What you are charged for the journey is calculated later and then automatically from your account. Often this charge will be capped at a maximum amount if enough journeys are taken within a specific period of time, e.g. a day.

BODS (Bus Open Data Service)

BODS provides bus timetable data for every local bus service in England. It emerged from the Bus Services Act 2017, which included improvements designed to make commercial bus services more accessible to passengers and is a Department for Transport led initiative to enable new applications, products and services for passengers.

Commercial bus operators must add their network data, in TransXChange format, to BODS by January 2021. In time, BODS will replace the Traveline National Dataset (TNDS).

The Bus Open Data Service is used by operators who publish their data, and anyone who wishes to download the data. Operator source data can also be downloaded from Passenger’s Open Data Portal.

Open Data

Open data is data that has been made available to the public for personal, educational or commercial use. It is usually released under an open data license, such as the Open Government License Version 3.0.

Many public transport operators release their data as open data. Certain datasets must be released to the public under UK law – this currently includes TransXChange. From 2020 onwards, this will also include information about fares and vehicle locations, which comes from Automatic Vehicle Location systems.

In 2020, the Department for Transport launched a new service called the Bus Open Data Service, BODS for short. It will become the main online directory of data about buses in England.

A good source of open data in GTFS format, covering UK-based public transport operators, is Passenger’s open data website.

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

ETA is often displayed on the screens on bus stops or train stations. It is a prediction of when a vehicle will arrive, based on where it is at that moment. It can also be used by a journey planner as an indication of when a traveller will arrive at a destination.