uTrack-Siri-VM-Feed

uTrack SIRI feed

Now that it has become a legal requirement for companies to provide data of their operations (through BODS), our uTrack SIRI VM and SM feeds have become more important than ever.

The government has said that the reason for the new open data legislation, is that passengers need real-time multi-modal travel information that is accurate, timely and complete.

Real-time feeds will allow actual bus locations rather than expected locations, helping passengers understand bus location and hopefully minimising wait time for transport.

The data can also be leveraged for analysing:

  • Punctuality
  • Congestion
  • Urban planning
  • Emission levels

Why SIRI?

The Service Interface for Real-time Information (SIRI), is a European standard interface for exchanging real-time public transport operator information between computer systems for planned, current or projected performance.

Exchanges include:

  • Planned and real-time timetable exchange
  • Vehicle activity at stops
  • Vehicle movement
  • Information to assist in the provision of reliable connections between vehicles

The VM side is the vehicle monitoring service, which allows for the exchange of real-time positions of public transport vehicles.

The SM feed refers to stop monitoring and is the exchange of the real-time arrivals and departures at public transport service stops.

The problem however with SIRI, or more specifically VM, is that according to regulation, only showing the vehicle location is enough and not a regulated ETA data feed with it. 

This, therefore, does not completely provide passengers with accurate and consistent ETA/ETD information of vehicle arrival/departure times, because third parties will be forced to calculate their own estimated live times, and there will be no consistency when passengers look at different feeds. 

If passengers are to truly benefit, then the algorithm for ETA/ETD engines needs to also be unified. When the rail industry unified their ETA/ETD data through the DARWIN system, it had huge benefits for passengers. The same needs to be done for coach & bus.

That being said, we believe that utilising technology and more specifically data, will be at the heart of the public transport revolution, so it is a welcome and positive sign that SIRI is being rolled out industrywide.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide SIRI feeds along with additional data like estimated times and much more, so that any passengers using our feeds will receive the best experience they can possibly get.

Written by Andy Coulson

February 1, 2021

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