Open data: Transport for NSW releases trove of travel data

Releases Opal travel card data

Transport for NSW announced today that it had made available data based on usage of New South Wales’ Opal travel card.

The data has not previously been publicly available. Work on preparing the Opal dataset was performed in conjunction with Data 61, and Transport for NSW said significant effort had gone into de-identification.

The state government agency’s open data portal offers access to two weeks’ worth of Opal tap on and tap off data. Transport for NSW has also released separate Opal-based bus utilisation, ferry and train data sets.

“Transport for NSW is a leader in open space data, which has been used to great effect in innovation and smartphone apps,” the agency’s deputy secretary customer services, Tony Braxton-Smith, said in a statement.

“Opal data has long been one of our most requested and most useful datasets,” Braxton-Smith said. “Now it’s available, it means researchers and developers can access and use the data like never before to innovate and gain insights for a huge variety of benefits for customers and organisations.

“For example, businesses will be able to use data to plan what are the best times to be open or have more staff rostered on.

“Let’s say someone plans to open a business near a train station and wants to establish the best times to be ready to serve customers from this source. What was once an anecdotal, trial-and-error process can now be backed up by hard data, which could help them succeed in their business.”

NSW in 2013 adopted a policy advocating an ‘open by default’ approach for government data. In February, the state’s minister for finance, services and property, Victor Dominello, foreshadowed a renewed open data push from the government.

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