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More data could help rail firms plan more effectively
Richard Bell

Transport Minister reveals plans for digital overhaul of UK’s rail services

Travel on Britain’s rail network looks set for a major overhaul under new plans for closer ties between train firms and technology companies.

Transport Minister Jo Johnson and Rail Delivery Group (RDG) chief exec Paul Plummer announced an initiative on Wednesday (August 8) that will see train operators publishing more real-time information.

The aim is to enable tech firms to develop intelligent travel apps for the future, potentially ushering in a new era of more seamless, hassle-free journeys.

It could also lead to better information for passengers on services, delays, seats and on-board facilities such as toilets or refreshments.

More data could also help rail firms plan more effectively or predict and fix problems before they arise.

In addition to publishing more data, the rail industry will work to identify and remove barriers to better information sharing. One way of doing this will be to improve standardisation of how data is collected, stored and published.

Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Transport, said: “This will speed the development of travel apps that provide passengers with helpful information about their journeys.

“The Government and the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, have today published the ‘Joint rail data action plan’ which sets out the obligations and deadlines for delivering on these ambitions, overseen by an industry-led taskforce.”

RDG association boss Paul Plummer commented: “Technology gave rise to the railway, connecting Britain, and the rail industry wants to channel this spirit to help produce cutting-edge products and services that can be exported around the world.

“Digital technology in rail already means more timely information and less time spent waiting, helping to put customers in charge, and as part of the rail industry’s plan to change and improve we want to use technology to give customers more and more control.”

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