Rail Data Marketplace platform set to launch in beta in November

Image source: istock.com/Cherezoff

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) plans to launch a private beta version of the Rail Data Marketplace (RDM) – a digital industry data platform – later this year.

Representatives of the industry body – which includes leaders from Network Rail and the Department for Transport’s OLR Holdings on its board – told the DataConnect conference yesterday that a prototype had now been built and hopes to launch the private beta in November.

There are plans for a public beta in March next year and ambitions for a full go-live in the fall.

Program manager Jez Smith told the conference that the platform was built with development partner Tata Consultancy Services on the Azure cloud and while not bound by Government design standards Digital Service, she remained close to them.

He said this is aimed at overcoming some of the barriers to data sharing within the industry. Currently, data is highly fragmented, with varying formats, languages ​​and quality.

RDG believes that opening up and facilitating data sharing will support operations, make the industry more efficient, drive innovation and foster the development of intermodal public transport.

Simplification and reduction of friction

“The Rail Data Marketplace aims to simplify data, opening up a wider user base through a single point of access. This reduces friction between data publisher and data consumer,” Smith said.

He added, “We’re not trying to create a data lake but to provide access to data sources, and it’s a business-to-business service rather than a passenger-facing service.”

The RDM will be open to industry, application developers, technology companies and universities to support railway planning and innovation.

Smith said that while the default approach is for open data, RDG recognizes that some publishers will want to make certain data available at a price, and the platform will include mechanisms to control the license and the terms under which they are released. are published.

“We want to make participation attractive, which means a balance between open and paid data, simplify licensing, make the platform cost-neutral by May 2024, provide information to users to gauge the value of the data and let publishers set prices to see how the market performs.

Platform features will include a catalog of available data, content management, license management, API management, billing and invoicing, analytics capability, and a community forum for users.

Control for publishers

The project’s commercial manager, Clare Morrisey, said data publishers and consumers would have to agree to the terms and conditions of the RDM, but the data-sharing agreement would be between one on each side. A publisher would have to sign a no-data statement that identifies individuals and a privacy policy, and then would have the power to control data, licenses, and who has access to it.

“It would all fall to the license builder within the platform to populate the schedules in the license builder.” She says.

Morrisey added that the aim is to get data publishers to use a standardized license 80% of the time, but they will be able to upload their own contracts if they wish.

“We think if it got to 80% open data and 20% billable, it would make it cost neutral,” she said.