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Most travellers neither know nor care who operates the road, bus or train they are travelling on; they just want to know which service or route to take and if the way ahead is clear.

This lack of distinction is crucial for travel information providers, because the way we divide up our networks into operator-sized chunks is largely meaningless in the minds of the people we are trying to reach.

The solution, of course, is to pool travel information and make it available in ways that make the boundaries between providers largely invisible to the end-user and to give a joined-up view of the transport network.

But (and it’s a big but) we are not starting from a clean sheet of paper.

Countless organisations, from local authorities and government agencies to train and bus operators, have invested in systems to manage their own information on urban traffic, motorway incidents, timetables and parking; in fact every conceivable data-type for every mode of transport. What’s more, few of these systems share a common language so they can’t talk to each other.

The benefits of sharing data are clear - both for informing travellers and improving how we manage events across local boundaries – but we can see how complex this might be. Thankfully, help is at hand...

Stephen George TIH Chief Executive Officer

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