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09.09.2013

Vienna Transport Authority releases real-time data

The Vienna Transport Authority released real-time data for bus stops and tram and metro stations for general use on Thursday. The first timetable apps are almost ready to go.

In addition to data about operating elevators and general service interruptions, the Vienna Transport Authority has now released its real-time departure data on the City of Vienna’s open data platform, as announced at the end of March. According to the Vienna Transport Authority blog, the organization needed time to make the necessary technical preparations for releasing the data. The company invested many thousands of euros in the IT infrastructure and in harmonizing the data sources.

Commuter train data not yet included
The released real-time data does not include data for bus lines that are not operated by the Vienna Transport Authority, such as the 5B and the 33B. Developers also still need to wait for data for commuter trains, Austrian Railways trains and the postal service buses. Vienna Transport Authority spokesperson Dominik Gries told futurezone that the Badner Bahn commuter rail line is the only outside provider that has also released its data.

To access the Vienna Transport Authority data, programmers need a developer API key, which can be requested by e-mail. They can use the real-time data to offer timetable apps. Until now, the real-time data for the public transportation system was only available to the Vienna Transport Authority app qando. The data is provided under the standard open data licence in Austria, the Creative Commons Namensnennung 3.0 Österreich, and can also be used commercially when the source is indicated.

Apps ready to go
The first apps are already ready to go. “I want to launch as soon as possible,” Patrick Wolowicz, the developer of Wann, told futurezone. He said he has already requested his API key, and when everything goes well, he will be able to start beta testing this weekend and submit the app to the app store next week.

Developers have been requesting the release of data by the Vienna Transport Authority for some time, and also established the initiative Offene Öffis at the beginning of the year, which launched a petition to the City Council. “We are glad that the time has finally come,” said Robert Harm from the initiative. He hopes that Austrian Railways will release the data for its commuter trains soon so that the overall transit situation in Vienna can be shown. He said that Austrian Railways has already agreed to do this.

The data could be released in September. Then, the Vienna Transport Authority wants to release its timetable data as a routing service. Commuter train and Austrian Railways data could be included then. Talks on this have already been held within the regional transit association, said Vienna Transport Authority spokesperson Gries. But some things still need to be worked out, he said.