Unified API Part 3: RoT – Routes of Things

In Part 2 of this series, Dan gave examples of finding the “Locations of Things” using the Unified API. This week, I’ll focus on the “Routes of Things” – the lines, routes and services that join up the locations on the TfL network.

As before, all of the API examples in this page are live, however they do not include API authentication tokens. This means that if you follow the link as is, you will be using anonymous access, which is throttled for fair use, so you may get a 403 response. It is recommended for your own development you obtain an “app_key” and “app_id” by registering here. The data in these examples will be in JSON format, so installing a JSON formatter plugin in your browser will help you read the data returned.

Let’s begin with the most prominent use of routes on the website – the status board. In the Unified API a line is the top-level entity which groups the routes of a service together. The Line endpoint allows us to request all of the lines for a given set of modes, so is a useful starting point for navigating into the available routes. Showing the status of a line is such a common use case that the endpoint also includes an option to include the service status for each line by appending /Status to the URL:

https://api.tfl.gov.uk/Line/Mode/tube,dlr,overground,tflrail/Status

rot_status
The status board requests the Tube, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail line status. A line can represent multiple routes around the TfL network.

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Web Analytics – Over 100m visits in September

With the TfL website having now been live for around 18 months, the Analytics team within TfL Online are continuing to see increased levels of traffic arriving on the site and in September we achieved a notable landmark.

With over 100 million pages accessed in the month, September was the first time this year that we’ve surpassed 100m page views without a strike occurring in that month. In comparison with September 2014, we saw a year-on-year increase of 10% as our site received a staggering 23.2 million visits during the month:

September 2015 saw a rise of +10% year on year, with the site receiving over 23.2 million visits during the month.
September 2015 saw a rise of +10% year-on-year, with the site receiving over 23.2 million visits during the month.

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Over the Air 2015 – TfL talk Open Data

The 7th Over the Air took place on the 25th & 26th of September, 2015 at St. John’s in Hoxton, London and Transport for London were delighted to provide two speakers at the event on Friday 25th.

Over the Air is an annual 2-day event where the mobile developer community come together for ‘Hack Days,’ aimed at driving learning, collaboration and experimentation amongst developers, with software development recognised as a creative discipline. You can read more about the history, ethos and structure of the event on the Over the Air website and follow them on Twitter.

Rikesh Shah, Lead Digital Relationship Manager and Gordon Watson, Chief Technical Architect at Transport for London, were there to provide an overview of Open Data at TfL and to outline our commitment to the provision of free, open data which enables app developers to produce a huge range of travel products.

Over the Air
Transport for London’s Rikesh Shah, Lead Digital Relationship Manager and Gordon Watson, Chief Technical Architect, presented TfL’s Unified API at Over the Air 2015

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Unified API Part 2: LoT – Location of Things

Last week, I gave a brief overview of what’s in the API, and said that if something is on our website then it should be in our API.  Over the next couple of weeks we are going to take a look at some of the data in the API that you can use to build your own applications.

There are a few things to note before I begin going into specific data examples.  Firstly, all of the API examples in this page are live, however they do not include API authentication tokens.  This means that if you follow the link as is, you will be using anonymous access, and anonymous access is throttled for fair use, so you may get a 403 response.

It is recommended for your own development you obtain an “app_key” and “app_id” by registering here.  Access to our API is free to all.  Append you unique “app_id” and “app_key” as querystring parameters to get dedicated, higher rate limits than anonymous.  If you need even high rate limits, send us a message using the portal. The data in these examples will be in JSON format, and it is recommended that you install a JSON formatter plugin in your browser, this will help you read the data returned.

This week we will focus on the “Location of Things”, in particular finding the location and other useful information about transport related things in London. Let’s start with stations and stops – you’ll need to take a look at this web page:

https://tfl.gov.uk/hub/stop/HUBKGX/kings-cross-st-pancras-international/?Input=King%27s+Cross+%26+St+Pancras+International

This example shows a map
This example shows King’s Cross station on a map, including other transport options nearby with bus stops and cycle hire docks also shown.

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TfL Unified API Part 1: Introduction

TfL have been a leader amongst Transport and Government departments in the provision of free and open data to the public, and actively encourage the use of data by 3rd party developers across multiple application domains, with a data subscriber database of 5000+ registered application developers and organisations.

With the use and integration of TfL’s Open data, developers have produced a wide and varied selection of mobile and desktop applications, spanning the fields of travel and trip planning to historic city data analysis and mining. As an early adopter of the Open Data initiative (particularly within transport), TfL has provided Open Data since 2007.

Open Data Apps
With the use and integration of TfL’s Open data, developers have produced a wide and varied selection of mobile and desktop applications

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TfL website in the cloud – why and how

This post is designed to build on the previous posts within this blog that discuss TfL’s choice of cloud hosting for the website. Below are videos of Phil Young, the head of TfL Online, and Solution Architect Dan Mewett speaking about the TfL website and the cloud at events hosted by Amazon Web Services.

These videos provide a good overview of TfL’s choice and implementation of solution, offering insights into why we decided to switch to the cloud and how we’ve made it work.

Speaking at the AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits UK Symposium 2014, Phil offers a brief intro to TfL and its online services, why we chose the cloud for hosting our new website, how the site was built and what our experiences were in the first 6 months or so after launch.


 
 
Dan was speaking at the 2015 AWS Summit London, focusing on issues such as how the cloud powers our services, auto scaling, security and disaster recovery in the cloud as well as other key aspects of our platform implementation.

 

Meeting with Transport for All – planning accessible journeys

Senior members of the TfL Online, Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement teams met with representatives of Transport for All on Thursday. The meeting was called to discuss how TfL can improve the experience of using Journey Planner for wheelchair users and those with accessibility needs.

This gave us a great opportunity to engage with a very knowledgeable group who were able to give us valuable insights into how we can continue to make improvements to Journey Planner and the way we serve our information.

A key outcome for Transport for All is that these improvements will mean wheelchair users are not reliant on personal experience and knowledge of travelling in London, and are instead served more accurate, reliable information to plan journeys. It‘s crucial that those with accessibility needs aren’t put off making certain journeys due to any gaps or inaccuracies in the information they receive.

TfL members of staff discuss how to improve wheelchair users' experience of using Journey Planner with Transport for All.
TfL members of staff discuss how to improve wheelchair users’ experience of using Journey Planner with Transport for All.

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