Winners of rail industry Open Data ‘Hackathon’ announced
Developers, programmers and creatives joined the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together rail operators and Network Rail, for an open data ‘Hackathon’ this week.
The event aimed to help encourage new ideas for the use of rail data that will benefit the increasing number of passengers using the network. Hackathon participants worked in teams, using a full day to create new apps or websites using rail industry data that was available from Network Rail, National Rail Enquiries (NRE), data.gov.uk and Passenger Focus.
The industry was also interested to hear the teams’ ideas about other sources of data rail industry data could be combined with.
Teams presented their ideas to a judging panel made up of senior industry representatives.
Ideas included new apps to help plan journeys and programmes that explored combining rail data with demographic information, weather data or T witter feeds.
The winning team was selected for an app that was customer focussed, pulling together journey planning with real-time disruption information. The app also linked up with users’ calendars to make it easier to notify contacts if they were running late. Jen Garrick of CDS Digital; Jason Cheung of Silver Rail Technologies; Dries Demeulemeester and Jabran Bhatti of Televic Rail in Belgium, Martin Gogov of TransportAPI and Elena Khmeleva of Sheffield Hallam University formed the winning team, which was named “Off Track”.
Each member of the winning team received a pair of return tickets from Virgin Trains.
David Brown, RDG lead on transparency and chief executive of The Go-Ahead Group said:
“All the teams participating in the event produced some outstanding ideas, but the winning team stood out for a clear focus on personalised customer service – pulling together different sources of data to communicate train delays and provide information at times of disruption. We congratulate them on a proposal that aspired to make people’s journey better – they are worthy winners.
“Over the last decade, train companies and Network Rail have put into the public domain an ever-increasing range of information and data, making Britain’s railway one of Europe’s most transparent – and we are committed to going further.
“By encouraging new and innovative ideas for the use of our data, we hope to help ensure that even more passengers consistently get the highest quality information about rail services.”
Notes to editors
The judging panel was made up of senior industry representatives: David Brown, chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group; Jason Webb, head of online at National Rail Enquiries and Ian Wright, head of research at Passenger Focus.
A high-res photograph of the winning team is available from the Rail Delivery Group media office.