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Mobility Data Ordinance: Public transport information should be published in real time

In the future, significantly more information will be available for individual traffic planning and control. On Friday, the Federal Council voted in favor of the Federal Ministry of Transport’s draft mobility data ordinance with a few changes. In the future, Germany-wide data on timetables, routes and ticket prices will be bundled on a platform, the so-called mobility data marketplace (MDM).

The ordinance specifies the obligation to provide data from mobility providers, which the Bundestag had decided in March with the reform of passenger transport law. The aim is to reliably organize trips through several public transport associations and with various means of transport.

With the new Passenger Transport Act, all transport service providers, including providers such as Uber and Free Now, are obliged to “standardized public and to be made available in machine-readable form via a national access point “.

According to the Mobility Data Ordinance In principle, this requirement also relates to the contact details of the service provider, prices, stations and the number of available vehicles, including information on “real-time utilization”. There is also information about the vehicle pool used, its environmental standard and accessibility. This also includes data on payment and booking options and the costs actually billed. The use of the information is based on the open data principle and may only be restricted, for example for the protection of company or business secrets or personal information.

On the basis of the envisaged MDM, app-based mobility and information services for end customers are to be developed and, for example, commuter traffic across public transport network boundaries is to be made significantly easier. The transport department speaks of an “important step towards efficient, digital and environmentally friendly mobility of the future”.

The Land Chamber has still clarifiedthat third parties also have the opportunity to define and develop services. This is the only way to exploit the potential of mobility data. “In doing so, algorithms and processing steps are used,” which are useful from the point of view of the public transport user, emphasizes the Federal Council. Such program routines could “lead to the filtering, aggregation and interpretation of data or require these”.

With the inserted clause, the information to be provided may be used and also changed, provided that this “does not lead to a falsification of the data content”. The federal states also enforced that a permanent internet connection does not have to be available on the system side when using the information. Devices in vehicles, offline apps for travel information and the use of data on printed posters should not be excluded.

In order to create “the greatest possible synergy effects”, not only systems operated at the state level should be closely integrated in the provision of data, but also those of the municipalities. In the case of regular services, it is likely that the main aim is to connect network and country systems to the planned national access point. Cities and municipalities should, however, have all options open to them.

“We are serious about modernizing public transport”, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer welcomed the decision. “Every single bus schedule throughout Germany, every subway departure time, we provide all the information in one place.” Whichever app or website users used to plan their trips, “no information possible” is a thing of the past. The CSU politician is certain: “Thanks to the digital boost, we will be able to get from door to door even faster and easier with climate-friendly local transport in the future.”

The obligations to provide data under the Passenger Transport Act, which critics such as the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) go far too far, will come into force in stages. The first step is about static data in line traffic. The Ministry of Transport is already planning to expand the regulation. More data categories are to be added at the beginning of 2022 and real-time data for the first time on July 1, 2022. At the same time, the department claims to be working together with the Federal Highway Research Institute on the further technical development of the MDM into a “mobility library”. This will make the exchange of data in real time much easier.


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