Date:
21 November 2022
Author:
Emil Jeyaratnam

Salsa’s most recent DTIG article profiled the Live Traffic NSW service and the OneRoad project, which will significantly increase the coverage of live traffic data to cover more of the state.

But live traffic data is just one of many data services provided by Transport for NSW — its open data portal contains more than 200 traffic and transport related datasets with over 1000 resources (including data, APIs and other files). The portal is a centralised hub for all Transport for NSW open data.

Transport data

Transport for NSW releases open data for the different modes of transport, including bus, train, light rail, ferry, car, taxi, cycling and walking. The datasets are organised and tagged into easy navigable topics and cover themes such as real-time traffic data, parking, and statistical data such as survey results.

The real-time data, in combination with route, timetable and stop data, can be used for route planning. There are API endpoints to retrieve the current location of public transport vehicles (e.g. buses, trains, ferries), as well as trip update data and real-time alerts at either the stop, trip, or service line level. Real-time data is generally provided in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format.

Live Traffic NSW Screenshot
Screenshot of the Live Traffic NSW web service.
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Users of the open data hub also have the ability to create their own personal trip planner through the Trip Planner APIs data record. Other datasets provided through the portal include NSW crash data, household travel survey results, freight information, fuel prices, as well as many other datasets.

Open data and innovation

Salsa has evangelised on the benefits of open data and its role as a catalyst for innovation for many years now. The Transport for NSW open data portal is a great example of how opening up government datasets can drive innovation and result in unforeseen benefits for government, citizens and private industry.

There are many applications that use NSW transport open data to provide valuable services for NSW citizens. There are numerous trip and route planning applications catering to commuters and delivery drivers, parking apps, traffic incidents and congestion apps. There are even real estate apps that plug into transport data to provide travel times for prospective buyers and renters.

Examples of Transport for NSW Endorsed Apps include:

  • AnyTrip — provides real-time tracking of public transport vehicles near users’ locations.
  • Licence Ready — an app for learning drivers with driving instructions and log book capabilities
  • Deckee — a social app for boaters to explore NSW waterways and share experiences
  • Stop Announcer — provides audio notifications of stops for vision-impaired commuters

Any Trip service screenshot
Screenshot of the Any Trip web service.

To further encourage and facilitate innovation, Transport for NSW has regular challenges and hackathons. Recent challenges include the Road Trip Innovation Challenge, which asks participants to provide digital solutions for travellers wanting to navigate NSW Tourist Drives.

Data powering the future of NSW transport

Digital services are becoming increasingly important in how people travel and commute. Data, and more importantly real-time data, is needed for all aspects of travel — trip planning and booking, travel, improved access and mobility services

The Open Data Hub has more than 56,000 registered users, 7,755 registered applications and 16 billion hits on API endpoints. With such demand for transport data and the large number of applications using NSW transport data, it's easy to see how critical open data is to both commuters and other service providers.