CR Entretien Tjalle Groen (Benchmark MaaS)

From Communauté de la Fabrique des Mobilités

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Description en une ligne : Interview of Tjalle Groen, a active contributor of TOMP-WG (informal organization working on TOMP-API) conducted in english by Marguerite Grandjean and Ghislain Delabie as part of benchmark of MaaS Standards, october 22, 2021

Description : Interview of Tjalle Groen, a active contributor of TOMP-WG (informal organization working on TOMP-API) conducted in english by Marguerite Grandjean and Ghislain Delabie as part of Benchmark Standards MaaS, october 22, 2021


In what capacity are you involved in TOMP ?

I’m a member of the Dissemination working group. I also use TOMP in the Interreg NorthWest Region - e-Hubs or Mobility Hubs - project.

  • Centers in public spaces where different places come together. Create hubs.
  • Connection between public transport, shared car, ebike.
  • Digital kiosque screen that can be used (not on all of them), where we gather info.
  • Physical spaces.
  • Use TOMP as a MaaS Provider.

What functionnalities does it offer ? Which do you use ?

TOMP has 6 modules: operator info, planning, booking, support, payment, trip execution. All of them are fairly independent, but interdependent. It’s like a stepping stone.

E.g. for booking options, you need an ID that was generated at the operator information stage.

Different implementations of TOMP:

At e-HUBS we only use operator information & planning. Planning is not always necessary - for free floating you need planning, but for station-based. For bikesharing we can do without.

Do you use TOMP in any other project ?

At Taxistop we don’t run a MaaS per se. I’m developing carpooling in Belgium through TOMP, but it’s still a proof of concept (POC) to incorporate in TOMP. The info side is fine, booking not yet.

What's the difference between the TOMP data module and the orther data standards like GBFS or GTFS ?

All of them have pretty much the same use, but they’re a bit more or less complete.

How did you find out about TOMP ?

e-HUBS was to develop a standard - started in 2019 - same time as the TOMP, so decided to join forces.

More chances to become an actual standard if it’s actually used. Everybody working together. But it was a risk at the time. 1st version only published in May 2019. At that point there was no usage. Usage came in by 2020.

Ton of European projects (ex. Data4PT, …). Most often, it’s not used. Lots of efforts, but stay divided if everyone has their own standard.

That’s why at TOMP we’re open to having talks with anyone who wants to, to avoid competing standards.

What do you like about TOMP-API ? Why are you involved ?

We chose TOMP to mutualize. It was a risk but it works well. It grew quite fast over 2 last years.

Have you considered any other standards before choosing TOMP ?

Yes, did a lot of research and readings.

Started with GTFS: very simple and easy to go to GMaps. Fast to implement and popular. But not complete enough, data gaps.

Looked at RDex too for ridesharing.

Researched Netex, trying to cover everything with Transmodel.

Lots of custom APIs also.

Chose TOMP for its quality and also because I got involved in it.

Why do you think usage took off ?

In Netherlands, Dutch government supported 7 MaaS pilots. TOMP cam out of there, and it has grown above it.

It was mandatory to use the TOMP standard in order to do any of the 7 MaaS pilots. That helped in the beginning. Then, Dutch government made it part of their general recommandation that in PTO tenders, you have to do it through TOMP. Big city PTOs like Utrecht, Amstedam...

It also got attention from players because TOMP is one of the only fully accessible open API that goes to level 2 (booking, payment, etc). Most of the others stay at level 1 (information).

The outreach played a role. You do talks, people are interessed. Australia was quickly onboard. Also made it compulsory to use TOMP. The mode people implement it, the more it grows.

There seems to be a lot of english-speaking countries in TOMP membership. Is the code in English ?

Yes, part of the request i in English (Description, parameters, ex locaction, assets...). But the content of all fields can be any language. You juste have to specify the language you operate in.

It was set up in a multilingual way from the start.


Who is in these working groups ?

It's broad. Because of the city recommentations, there are big providers ( not WHIM, but smaller). Lot's of TOs, non-profits, experts, consultants, universites, standard organisations...MobilityData. One of the largest is Donkey Republic, a worldwide bikesharing company. Lots of Dutch people, some Australian and belgian also.

TOMP is bottom-up. People trying to do things together or project that come together. And people who are lucky enough to allocate time.

Do you get any private actors to collaborate ?

We get requests from VOI and e-scooters, but the bigger one have their own system set-up. So we aim mostly for the small players. We don't try to convince the bigger one like Uber. This has been a successful stragegy because if many players use TOMP, then it's an incentive to connect. It will become handy.

But to convince a city, you may need big MSPs. So lots of talking and lobbying.

In Netherlands, all MaaS have to adhere to TOMP. Imposing a standard is one strategy to improve adoption. So it depends ot he national authority, but, there's an interest, with NAP, like Germany and France.

It's not only who has the best technical solution, but who has the most leverage. Governements with full-API could impose themselves. But risk for European battle on Standards. Small country + Open community could be a positive move ?

What are the relationships with other standards ?

We collaborate with MobilityData on their GxFS toolbox. The way it's built, the operator information building block is GBFS. Upgrade last week in GBFS.

It's fully integrated in TOMP. Everything covered in GBFS is also in TOMP. We align with them as fast as possible.

Theoretically it could be NeTEX or whatever and build on it.

Any ling with institutional standard bodies ?

We're talking to CEN to make if formal. But it will take years. There's a need, but it's slow. Lot's of SDOs keep popping up

  • OASIS, supported by IBM, HP, Orable, SAP) OpenMobility Foundation is hosted by them.
  • OLSO ( Open Standards for Linked Organizations) in Belgium. In Flanders the use it for everything, incluing mobility. A sementic standard, not a pratical one (for mobility). Part of the governement, part of Digital Flanders (previously a private company). They use it to make it easier.
  • ERTICO / MaaS Alliance's MaaS API. The governane is different, some hierarchical differences. It's always difficult to align lots of people.
  • Data4PT = promote NeTEX and SIRI


Are you actively involved in the TOMP-API ecosystem (e.g to make change to the API) ?


Who are the members of the working group ?

Membership in the working groups is fully open, anyone can join at anytime. But it's not necessary. Not all users are part of the working group. We encourage people to be involved and keep everyone posted about what they do with the standard to keep in touch (Slack)

But we only find out later about most integrations. We have no overview of everyone using it. It's the principle of being open source. We'd like to know as much as possible, but we can't control it.

There's enough feedback through GitHub to make adjustements though.

What are the decision making processes, formal or informal ?

Highly informal. Anybody who wants can join. We have a whole stable standard, but the governance to use it futher and make it long terme etc. we are working on it. We haven't figured it out yet.

How does it work ? How is the cooperation facilitated in pratice ? ( frequency, modes of cooperation, asks ...)

  • Working Group
  • Meeting every 2 weeks
  • Larger organizations come in to give talks for insights
  • Changes are made, thein it grew a bit, so switched to working teams

There is 4 working teamps

  1. Technical issues
  2. Reference implementations
  3. Standardization & Collaboration
  4. Dissemination & communication

They have their onw timelines, then they converge. Rotating chair, every few weeks and change lead every few months

There is an Advisory Board with selected members who steer the big picture. They meet a few times a year to help us out.

Have you seen any changes in governance ?

We are formalizing it as we go, as we grow

Ownership & Access

What IP licence do you use ?

IP : Open source Apache 2.0 licence.

Who owns it ? How would you defince the community that owns the standard ?

It's the TOMP Working Group. They're deciding and contributing.

Was it open source from the start ? Why was TOMP set up that way ?

I don't think it was push by the Dutch Ministry. It was always there

There were discussion at the beginning : Should we close it ? Open source was chosen fast. Then matter of choosing licence. It was not forced.

They developed part of the solution, then they decided. Open si reassuring : should something happen, you can always take it yourself. it's a Trust factor. It can get its own life. If you invest in it, even if the working group stops, you can keep developping ad sustaining it. It starts somewhere, but the then the community goes down and somebody else can pick it up. You can let it go.

Business Model

How is it funded ?

It's all voluntary. Everybody does what they can on a voluntary basis. It works well. They get an amount of time allocated by the company because it's their interest. No budget involved. We are looking into it through. But we get support through admin, agenda, meeting, locaiton for meeting IRL... from the Ministry.


How is the quality insured ?

It's a risk. Constant feedback loops. People are active in the working teams. Weekly meeting, quite active.

How "alive" is it, are there new versions regularly ?

The V1.2 just came out.

Are there any mechanisms to guarantee open-source implentations ?

The implementations don't have to be open source.

Are there any validation tools ?

3 tools for validation & certifications to say " I have a valide implementation of the TOMP-API" But to do that, you need a governance body. So it's linked to the governance.

We have tools to test it, dummy setup for a mobility operator. Not a full toolbox with full validators. We just say "We have this, it's works"

How are the local implementation done ? What's the link with the centralized standard ?

We don't have overview.

Are there any standards that need to be deployed internationally ? How fo you scale from local to international ?

Not easy. They spread it. Havn't achieved what they want to become yet. Main obstacle is political choices. TOMP is setup to handle moving from one country to another. That's also because Australia and others were involved from the beginning.


Roadmap MaaS : Mobility points is the main projects. Growing in more cities.

All communication over TOMP. It's a process because not everybody had time to implement.

Next steps for next 2 years :

Unclear what will happen in the next 10 years. Traction but many things didn't happen. If things are not done together, at least talk together.

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Document Central (CR) :

Evénement lié :

Organisations impliquées : Tomp WG

Contributeurs : Ghislain

Tags : MaaS

Thème :

Animateur Atelier :

Défi lié à l'Atelier :

Commun(s) impliqué(s) : Transport Operator MaaS Provider (Tomp-API)

Projet en cours à associer :

Communauté(s) d'intérêt impliquée(s) : Standards Ouverts pour des MaaS d'intérêt général

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