CR Entretien Hayden Sutherland & Gregor Johnston (Benchmark MaaS)

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Description en une ligne : Interview of Hayden Sutherland & Gregor Johnson ( Open Transport Alliance) conducted in english by Marguerite Grandjean and Ghislain Delabie as part of Benchmark Standards MaaS, november 08, 2021 about OTI (Open Transport Initiative)

Description : Interview of Hayden Sutherland & Gregor Johnson ( Open Transport Alliance) conducted in english by Marguerite Grandjean and Ghislain Delabie as part of Benchmark Standards MaaS, november 08, 2021 about OTI (Open Transport Initiative)

General informations

OTI has developed 2 APIs

  • Customer-Account API : integrate mobility account (journey, ticket and discount)
  • API of APIs: to locate data in transport services & MaaS platforms
The Data spectrum for Transport & Mobility
OTI operates in the "Names access" part - like open banking, open healthcare, open energy.

Shared data or Smart data : access in given to a customer to share their data with other organization, including themselves.

Create bridges betwen open & closed data.

Covers any modes - Macromobility, transit, input from names modes of transport (bus, Taxi, parking, ferries, scooters, bikes...)

How did you produce the standard ?

We had the vision of interconnected MaaS that shares customer data (usage, purchase), of interoperability of customer data. A mobility ecosystem able to share the closed, personal data but enough data so that MaaS includes ticketing across multiples providers.

Gregor and I both worked in the transport system and data system, for Scotland account ticket pilot. We worked collaboratively (spreadsheept, etc). We triend to be as inclusive as possible. Started with 6-7 individuals, then got much wider to include MaaS Scotland, the umbrella organization for MaaS in Scotland.

During the World Standards Day in Oct 2019 we release an early draft.

MaaS Scotland encouraged members in transport to contribute. We then got advice from UK Open Banking : if you publish it, you have to make it accessible.

So we draft 2 Standards :

  • A customer data sharing standard : sharing customer account data ( purchase, usage, discount)
  • A directory for our work


We got input form an event we convened with 20 people throwing questions. After further feedback, we published in january 2020 the 2 standards.

After, the British Standard Institute (BSI) came and said that sort of data standard is good work and unique. They said the directory looks like a standard in IoT for data made sharable, a directory. So we adapted the Directory Standard as a child / reference implementation of BSI standard. It's a directory to find data.

So we launched an updated version, aligned with BSI.

We had 2 more iterations about customer sharing standards. Innovation UK : used our standard and issued change requests.

Vision of a personal shared mobility where an individual wants to record what they're doing. Granular level (not vehicle siez or city data) to change behavior and move people to faster, better quality and greener journeys.

e.g Dynamic energy : you can't change customer behavior without talking to them about their journey ("you spent 5kg of CO2, you'd spend lees using this mode").

What IP license do you have for the code ?

The 2 standards are both release on SwaggerHub as an open API standard Apache 2.0 license.

What is your business model ?

The Board is not paid, non funded (private or public). Funded via time donation.

Gregor and I run our own consultancies in digital strategy and IT development. We work part-time on the standard. We give it energy because it needs to be done.

What is the legal structure ?

Licensed for non-profit. No structure yet.

What is the Scotland pilot you mentioned ?

MaaS Scotland. Scottish government has pushed MaaS pilots, but not in a coordinated way. More political.

Why you ? Why not partner with existing initiatives ?

We know Open Banking. We understood it was need in order to make sure mobility could start sharing open data.

We saw companies creating lock-in and silos of data and use it for market advantage. We didn't want to partner with any private org to develop it and use it.

We spoke to TOMP, OMF, MobilityData... But they are creating a data-sharing ecosystem that benefitted the operator. It's not around customer data-sharing. We don't work at city level / vehicles level data but individual data. Aggregating customer data so you can provide more accurate information.

GTFS is about organizational or city control of MaaS data. Here, it's customers with their own data in their own accounts.

We talked to OMF, they're looking to extend their modes for MDS but only in cities. We spent a lot of time talking to people.
Tim berners Lee's Chart about open data
The UK government is aware that transport here is very deregulated. 26 rail companies, deregulated bus system.

We spoke to OTC about defining location, but what we have done is quite unique. Open banking, smart cities ..

Now we are recognised as similar to "open energy" or "open banking"

What is the level of adoption : Implementation ? Contributors ?

Since the pandemic, things have paused.

It's a slow burning standard, with very few organizations adopting it. Only small actors, mainly because the transport industry has gone into freefall.

" The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best thing is now."

Beginning 2020, UK government published a document to mandate the introduction of smart data initiatives that specifically mentioned our system. We know the government will make it compulsory.

There is Lots of resistance adopting it. “I don’t have the time to do it, I’m a private company, I don’t want to make customer data sharable.”

The Scottish Transport Authority has given 7m£ in grants without any customer data…

How can we create a framework so that when the law is introduced, it can be done fairly and correctly? = How can we set organizations up to adopt it uniformally to be applied across the industry?

Do you need help to manage the standard ?

We don't need help to maintain / manage the standard. It's very light management. We need help to create a framework for adoption.

UK government: what happened to get open banking adopted? It wasn’t about making it sharable, but about creating an entity, a forum, an organization, to help with the mobilization, setup and governance.

UK government not only made “Open Banking” mandatory, but created a forum with mobilisation / governance: OBIE (Open Banking Implementation Entity). Now we talk with governement and other organisations to create OBIE for their sector.

It will need funding and support, to give substance to that entity to enable data standards & governance to be setup and governed correctly.

Working on Terms of Reference with MaaS Scotland.

Looking for funding opportunities: UK government has been very supportive including MaaS Scotland, but lots of little funds to create little pilots but never anything big for interoperability.

Also happy to partner with other organizations.

Any interest in expending further in Europe ?

We’re the only standard for what we do.

Interest from Scandinavia, Portugal, Japan.

Shared with TOMP.

It could be used everywhere, we don’t care. Doesn’t just apply to the UK.

Have you heard about A New Governance ? It's about how to move data form on company to another. Portability ? Interesting because it defines a new role in the ecosystem - a third party interested in data sharing provider. Will probably be mandatory in Europe.

Paul Theyskens: we talked to him about aligning with such initiatives. We might need to talk to him more. We’re going more in the Open Banking route.

Are you GDPR compliant ?

We hare about sharing, not storing. Not make data portable but sharable.

How about consent & security ?

We're applying for funding now to look at a "Consent Management Framework"

like in Open Banking and Open Energy. https://wso2.com/ibrary/articles/2019/09/consent-management-for-open-banking/

Right now data sits in different transport accounts. Different ownerships / silos. Deregulated markets generated huge amounts of data traps. Discuss with “Open Energy” to use their frameworks.

Are you in sync with UK organization that develop standards ?

Bus Open Data Standard (BODS): publish data about location of buses. Built on Netex. For England & Wales but not Scotland yet.

BSI is very slow.

How do you see OTI in the future ?

We are early stage, trying to move forward. Waiting for regulation to come in.

You’ll see further activity coming from us.

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