What's Missing From Existing Guidance to Policymakers?
An array of governments and NGOs have offered general principles in support of public APIs and open data standards, or guidance on other types of mobility data.
Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities
A consortium of transportation NGOs launched the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities. The project, now under the auspices of the New Urban Mobility Alliance, promotes “public benefits via open data” including “integration and seamless connectivity.” According to the principles, “the data infrastructure underpinning shared transport services must enable interoperability, competition and innovation, while ensuring privacy, security, and accountability... Seamless trips should be facilitated via physical connections, interoperable payments, and combined information.”
Unfortunately, public APIs are not consistently required or available, with policy falling short of the principles agreed to by dozens of governments, NGOs, service providers and companies, including Transit, Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and Lime.
The International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) released Guidance for Regulation of Dockless Micromobility. “Consider what format shared data should be compiled,” IMLA said. “GBFS is useful for real-time data.” IMLA did not say that GBFS should be made available to the public, or offer language to help cities require public, real-time APIs.
T4 Shared Micromobility Playbook
Transportation for America released the Shared Micromobility Playbook. It said that “cities should require public application program interfaces” for micromobility fleets and “strive to require and utilize an authenticated, standardized API.” It also says that “real-time data on vehicle availability and operations should also be available via API for use by the city or third-party analysis platforms.” The playbook focused on the needs of municipal operations managers and approved research partners, but did not specify the value in having real-time APIs available to the public.
UK DfT Policy Strategy
League of Cities Overview
The National League of Cities released Micromobility in Cities: A History and Policy Overview. The report encourages cities to “develop a plan and agreement for trip data,” but does not speak to the importance of public, real-time APIs. (It does, however, briefly mention Washington, DC’s public GBFS requirement in the report’s appendix.)