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Improved access to transport data

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The National Transport Data Framework was a joint project between the Cambridge eScience Centre, University of Cambridge and the Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College, London. It was funded by the UK government Department for Transport and ran from January 2006 to December 2007.

The project final report has now been published and is available for download here [1.2MB PDF]

The National Transport Data Framework is a system which will improve access to a variety of transport and other relevant data for users and will be the hub of a network of collaborations of companies, universities and organisations to develop associated projects.

The UK needs ways of locating reliable data on transport for planning by transport operators, government departments and local authorities and for research. Research at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, Cambridge, Imperial College and UCL, is looking into ways of giving users access to such high-quality, particularly realtime data on transport. The work will not actually look at storing data as such; rather the data will be presented in accessible form by applying metadata techniques to it.

At its core the NTDF consists of a metadata repository and a search engine. The system allows a data provider to describe their data, including access rights. The data continues to be held by the data provider with links from the NTDF description. A search engine allows data consumers to discover and understand data sources of interest.


The National Transport Data Framework

The aim of the National Transport Data Framework project, a bid by the Cambridge-MIT Institute on behalf of Imperial College and the University of Cambridge, in close partnership with leading UK universities, is to provide an effective solution to derive useful information in real time and to analyse archival data from disparate sources. This will help transport users and operators make better decisions and government departments formulate strategy. The data to be handled will be very varied and will range from information from sensors on highways and from CCTV to demographic or pollution data.

The project is developing the middleware at the core of the Framework. An architecture is being prepared to combine information from a variety of sources, allowing for uncertainities in the provenance of the data. A prototype implementation of the framework software is being developed to include the following areas - authentication framework identifying the users of the data: an authorisation framework, defining access rights to data: a core database system for the hub metadata: modules for ingesting new information: metadata handling for processes that create new secondary data, including the tracking of data quality and the propagation of uncertainties: a user interface.

The project was instigated by the Professor Peter Landshoff, Director of Research at the Cambridge-MIT Institute. This has been in close collaboration with Professor John Polak of Imperial College London.

The project is funded by the UK Department for Transport. See NTDF proposal

See also: NTDF description ^ TOP

TIME-EACM and TIME at the University of Cambridge

TIME is a framework for transport projects using the City of Cambridge as a transport monitoring testbed. Professor Ian Leslie, pro Vice Chancellor for Research, initiated it in 2004.
TIME-EACM (Transport Information Monitoring Environment-Event Architecture and Context Management) (Event Architecture and Context Management) is the research core of TIME, funded by EPSRC, 2005 - 2010, under the first "Wines" call for proposals. It will use the City of Cambridge as a testbed for developing software to monitor and analyse traffic. The project will design and develop an event-based middleware, and higher-level context models, to provide a convenient basis for applications to be provided with information of interest to them. The Principal Investigator is Professor Jean Bacon of the Computing Laboratory. The University's Department of Engineering is also collaborating, as is Birkbeck College. See TIME for full details.


Other transport data projects

A major collaborative project for research into mobile sensors to monitor pollution has been awarded under the EPSRC EScience Pilot Projects initiative. Collaborators are Imperial College London and the Universities of Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle and Southampton. The project title is MESSAGE, Mobile Envrionmental Sensing in a Grid Enviroment. Other transport data research projects are planned.
The consortium, led by Imperial College, is co-funded by the Department for Transport. See MESSAGE ^ TOP


The NTDF project is funded by the Department for Transport under the Horizons initiative. The TIME-EACM project is funded by the EPSRC with BT as industrial partner. Boeing support the TIME initiative and TIME-EACM, and also the Pervasive Mobile Environmental Sensors bid.