Data is a key factor in the development of public transport. The ODIN project is a new, national-level collaboration among the Nordic countries. Knowledge and technologies are shared in the project to jointly create conditions for future public transport and integration with new services.
– “The Nordic countries all have well-functioning public transport with high route frequency and good data quality. Individually, the Nordic countries are small, but, together, they are strong and attractive,” says Daniel Rudmark, Senior Researcher in Digital Innovation at RISE.
Google Maps has over a billion users and utilises data from, among other things, local public transport to generate customised travel suggestions for users. At the same time, an increasing number of services in city transport systems require high-quality open data to offer relevant services to residents.
– “We would like the Nordic region to become a LivingLab for new mobility services. Favourable conditions exist here owing to well-functioning public transport, high route frequency, and good data quality. Plus, there is major industry interest in system innovation in the Nordics,” says Rudmark.
A LivingLab is a concept geared towards the development of innovative products and services. Simply put: a living laboratory for research and development for the future.
New Nordic collaboration with three clear benefits
Meeting the challenges of the future requires cross-border collaboration at a national level. The Nordic Open mobility Data In the Nordics (ODIN) project brings together leading and national level operators within open public transport data from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, and the new collaboration is producing many benefits.
– “The Nordic countries have made different progress in different areas. Working together allows us to share knowledge and technologies with each other. This means we can raise our lowest level and become strong together,” says Rudmark.
Using common systems makes it easier for a third party to work with the Nordic countries.
– “The Nordic region will become more attractive as a partner and we will also have common integration options. As far as we’re concerned, this is the single most important benefit. It enables us to gain major advantages and will create real opportunities for innovation in the industry,” says Rudmark.
The third benefit relates to how the countries help one another with regard to adopting new policy directives from the EU and EEA.
– “Together we have the power not only to ensure that we comply with the EU directives, but to do so intelligently and wisely in order to achieve the effects that we and Europe are hoping for. For example, Norway has made more progress than the other Nordic countries with respect to standardisation according to NeTEx, and we have therefore elected to utilise Norway’s NeTEx profile since it satisfies the requirements of the EU regulation and it is compatible with a variety of important software frameworks used worldwide. So, through ODIN, the Norwegian NeTEx profile has become the Nordic NeTEx profile and is now jointly owned by the Nordic countries,” says Rudmark.
It will make it easier for operators to introduce new services
Striving for the most homogeneous ticketing possible
The member states have initiated a project comprising various conditions. The countries have worked under different policies and guidelines, particularly regarding ticketing, in which Finland has proved most progressive. Third-party ticket sales is an area in which the Nordic countries differ considerably and where it will not be possible to work completely uniformly.
– “We will never have common legislation, but within ODIN we are striving for the most homogeneous ticketing possible in the Nordic region. It will make it easier for operators to introduce new services. An important aspect is that a third party is able to sell tickets for public transport in all the countries. For example, you should be able to buy a bus ticket in a parking app or a public transport travel card could be included when booking a hotel room. And operators like Uber are eager to sell tickets for public transport as part of their mobility service,” says Rudmark.
Will benefit existing and new operators alike
RISE is managing the ODIN project and serving in a neutral role in order to drive the complex questions forward.
“A common system will benefit existing operators providing transport solutions, while also making room for start-ups and brand-new services,” says Rudmark.