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Transport informatics

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Cambridge-Openstreetmap-08-06-13.svg    See also the Transport informatics category.
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Introduction[edit]

"Transport Informatics (TI)" is a still developing concept:- drawing from the general concept of 'Informatics', TI refers to the practice of generating, assessing, interpreting and re-purposing information about transport networks and systems to be useful for human understanding and action.

Transport systems are very rich in information, and traditional ways of gathering such information such as human-administered surveys are now being complemented by increasingly low-cost information technologies such as sensors, Global Positioning System (wikipedia:GPS) navigation devices in vehicles, even potentially mobile phone locations, etc. The growth of the internet infrastructure means such information can also be more widely spread and utilised.

Once collected, this information can be potentially put to useful purposes, such as supporting analysis and display through a GIS system, or applications to support people to access transport systems more easily via smartphones or on-street displays. To allow a broader section of society to access relevant data, governments need to set up and pursue Open data policies in respect to data they collect and curate, and/or mandate and set up appropriate access by other parties to data collected by private groups. These type of datasets can complement well 'crowd-sourced' or community-developed resources such as Openstreetmap.

In the area of Public transport informatics, the development and uptake of the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format has been one example of a large spur to the potential of transport informatics.

However, concerns do exist in regards to both control of the information (who collects it, what licence it is made available under, and whether it is stored in a useful standard), and there are legitimate privacy concerns that can be raised about such information (such as concern over surveillance of movement patterns of individuals).

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