Back in October 2018, we launched a free-to-use tool called Bus Stop Checker. In the 21 months since then, the application has been used regularly by local authorities and bus companies to check the accuracy of National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN) data in their regions.
Today we’re making the brains of the tool open source. As the Department for Transport begins its journey to review and redesign one of the UK’s most popular datasets you’ve never heard of, we hope this enables the teams working on NaPTAN’s redesign to build on our analysis generated from creating the tool, by being able to see the approach we took.
We’re delighted to see that our Bus Stop Checker tool has contributed to a full evaluation of NaPTAN by DfT which we hope will ensure that the dataset, its day-to-day management and long term curation stands strong as a foundation for future innovation in UK transport.
“Let me praise the work you’ve done, because it’s really brilliant and to be honest, it gives us a lot of interesting ideas on how to work together with the sector to fix NaPTAN”.Giuseppe Sollazzo, Head of Data Department for Transport , Ep 10 Making Passenger
Bus Stop Checker was originally launched to visualise the inaccuracies that Passenger found in DfT’s NaPTAN database, in particular stop bearings and locations, when analysed with the road’s they’re on in OpenStreetMap (OSM).
By verifying NaPTAN data against information contained in OSM, we found a non-trivial amount of potentially inconsistent information in the NaPTAN dataset. These inconsistencies are highlighted in Bus Stop Checker if a stop’s purported bearing does not match the bearing of the road it is on. Bus Stop Checker aggregates this data and attributes a predicted quality level to each UK local authority. At the time of launching in 2018, 4% of UK bus stops (14,761 of 370,008) were flagged as unreliable. Since then many LTAs have exported data from Bus Stop Checker and improved their stop data.
As mentioned in the Bus Services Act 2017, without accurate, up-to-date bus information, the value of the data produced is diminished, resulting in loss of passenger trust in the information supplied and potentially – in the case of NaPTAN – sending them to the wrong stop or even in the wrong direction.
By working together, we know we can ‘build back greener’ after the global events of 2020. You can access the open sourced Bus Stop Checker on our GitHub @passengerteam.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.