In another first, KMRL has launched an open data policy to improve the public’s access to its services. The rail authority now shares information pertaining to stops, routes, schedules, fares and the like, which are converted into the universally accepted GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) standard. This service intends to help commuters check available metro schedules, make route changes while they are on the go and plan their trips accordingly.
Along with other details, transit details will also be available on Google Maps with a step-by-step direction for the entire route. After the user searches for information to reach from place A to B on Google Maps, the result will show the possible routes and driving directions for the commuter. The user will now see an option to open KMRL’s maps, which gives them a quick way to find their way around the city, in addition to the powerful route-finding Google Maps offers.
Users can zoom in and zoom out to read the name of stations in a clear and better way. This will help users to know the names of stations on various metro lines operated in Kochi. Users can know the first and last train availability from each station. They can also mark trips and traffic for the trip. This info can be shared with other subsequent users for planning their journey while still approaching metro. Users can also share their current trip status with their friends and relatives via Google Maps.
Post opening up the data, discussions were held with Google to integrate the information on Google maps. Once the procedural requirements were met, GTFS feed was made live on the application. Through this format, transit data can be consumed by a wide variety of software applications and better commuting recommendations can be made available to travellers. Better planned journeys will help KMRL to promote public transport and enhance the use of Metro by the public.
The launch was held on April 12th at the KMRL office. With this, KMRL has become the first metro agency in India to adopt an open data approach and has joined the league of other metro agencies like DMRC and BMRC. Commenting on the initiative, KMRL MD Shri. APM Mohammed Hanish IAS said, “This is a continuation to the open data initiative of KMRL. Because of the availability of authentic information on the widely used Google maps, commuters can have better-informed travel, and so we expect more commuters to our system.”