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Transport Committee launches new inquiry into future uses of data to improve transport

30 June 2023

The Transport Committee has launched a new inquiry that will investigate the future uses of data in the transport sector to innovate and improve services.

This inquiry, The future of transport data, was inspired by proposals that were pitched to the Committee during its Our Future Transport campaign, which saw experts and academics present ideas to the MPs on what subjects they should investigate next. It builds on pitches from Milda Manomaityte of the Railway Industry Association and Nick Bromley of data technology company Matatika.

New technologies like artificial intelligence, coupled with high-quality data sets, could revolutionise how we travel and the infrastructure we travel on.

The cross-party Committee will look at how new ways of using data can improve the delivery of services and infrastructure management, as well as how it can make transport quicker, safer, and more efficient for users. The inquiry will also look at regulations and standards that could be needed, and the potential risks this data usage may pose.

The inquiry comes after the Government published its Transport Data Strategy in March, outlining its ambitions to work with the transport sector to improve the accessibility and quality of data, making it easier to innovate.

Chair comment

Transport Committee Chair Iain Stewart MP said:

“My cross-party colleagues and I are extremely grateful to Matatika and the Railway Industry Association, whose excellent pitches inspired us to launch this new inquiry into the future of transport data.

“We want to learn more about the potential uses of data to improve the delivery of transport services, and to ultimately help passengers get around more quickly and safely.

“There have been innovations in recent years such as AI, digital twins and TfL’s live data sharing with third party travel apps. Now we want to see what might be coming round the corner.”

Terms of reference

Visit the Committee’s website to submit written evidence that addresses any or all of the following themes.

  1. How might planning and delivery of transport infrastructure and services be changed by greater sharing and use of transport data over the medium and long terms?
  2. How might the travelling public, and local communities, experience the benefits of better use of transport data? What unintended consequences might there be?
  3. How will it benefit the freight sector and the supply chain?
  4. What are the potential uses of data for understanding usage and condition of assets like roads, rail track, charging points, vehicles and the kerbside?
  5. What privacy, ethical, security, resilience and intellectual property issues arise in relation to gathering and sharing transport data, including location-based data about journeys and data with commercial value? How should the Government seek to manage and regulate these?
  6. What are the biggest gaps in available data about transport networks and travel? What kinds of policy, planning or maintenance questions cannot currently be answered that we could answer with new, or more accessible, data?
  7. How can the UK scale up from pilots, pockets of innovation and existing single-mode data sets towards an integrated, comprehensive landscape for transport data?
  8. How should data availability, and sharing by transport operators, suppliers and other bodies, be encouraged, facilitated and regulated?
  9. What skills and capacity do operators, infrastructure providers and local transport authorities need in order to manage their own data well and get the most value out of available data? What help do they need to anticipate and cater for future requirements?
  10. Is the UK’s digital infrastructure sufficient to allow the greatest value to be derived from transport data?
  11. What milestones and ambitions should the Government set in this area? How effectively has the Government’s Transport Data Strategy identified barriers to sharing and getting value from transport data, and the actions needed to overcome those barriers?
  12. What is the emerging best practice internationally, in terms both of developing standards and frameworks for sharing and using transport data, and supporting specific innovations? How does the UK compare, and how can it help to shape international standards?

Further information

Image credit: UK Parliament/Tyler Allicock