Network Rail to launch ‘open data’ programme

15 October 2020 (Last Updated October 15th, 2020 14:59)

The UK’s Network Rail is set to release an open data source to provide real time information on the status of lifts and escalators at around 370 stations across the country.

Network Rail to launch ‘open data’ programme
Reading Station in the UK. Credit: Network Rail.

The UK’s Network Rail is set to release an open data source to provide real time information on the status of lifts and escalators at around 370 stations across the country.

The move is expected to help passengers find out which lifts and escalators are working at the nearby station and accordingly plan their journeys.

The data source will be expanded to provide information on lifts and escalators from 463 stations over the next 12 to 18 months.

Network Rail technical and engineering director Martin Frobisher said: “Putting passengers first is at the heart of everything we do and with our greater use of technology and remote condition monitoring of thousands of our assets, we can leverage the brilliance of our UK-based app developers to turn this data into something really useful for our passengers, especially those with accessibility needs.

“And with the continuing ‘Access for All’ programme, we are aiming to double the number of stations with lifts on the network over the next ten years, helping more and more passengers to easily access Britain’s railway.”

The programme uses monitoring devices on lifts and escalators to provide the real-time information. The third parties procure the data from the open data source using an application programming interface.

Subsequently, the third parties can improve their travel planner apps by adding the latest lift and escalator availability information for passengers.

The information is also expected to be made available on the Network Rail website and National Rail Enquiries website.

Currently, around 80% of lifts and 60% of escalators are equipped with the monitoring equipment.