Kochi on Friday became the latest addition to the list of global cities whose transit data is freely available to the public. In fact, it is the only city in India right now whose metro rail transit data, including details such as stops, routes, fares and real-time schedules, are now accessible to the people.
The open data project, inaugurated on Friday, has been spearheaded by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) in conjunction with World Resources Institute (WRI), a research organisation which has prior experience in the subject. From today, details such as the timings of the metro trains, the stops, routes, schedules, are available to the public on the re-designed website of KMRL. To make the data truly open, it has been converted into a format known as the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), which will allow it to be directly read by computer programs and algorithms as well.
The details will help commuters plan their trips accordingly without any hassles. In cities like London and New York, open transit data has spawned numerous mobile applications which have in turn helped the people in using public services more effectively. Waiting times are reduced and special categories of commuters like differently-abled are able to find out whether a particular bus, train or station is disabled-friendly.
AccessWay, an app developed on the basis of open transit data in New York, helps visually-impaired persons navigate through public transport modes. Real-estate apps were also developed in the process which helps people buy/rent homes in areas close to transit modes.
“I am very happy about this. (The project) offers seamless integration between different modes of transport and improves access to services, information, schedules all of which is available on KMRL website,” said APM Mohammed Hanish, KMRL MD, at the inauguration.
He promised that a ‘hackathon’ will be organised soon to inspire entrepreneurs to use the open transit data to come up with creative applications.
With the installation of GPS sets in public and private buses underway in the city, commuters will soon be able to access real-time bus schedules and timings as well.