TransportAPI Develop Rail Performance Explorer

27 Sep 2023 by David Mountain

In July we released TAPI Rail Performance which provides a complete archive of rail journeys, based on official National sources. The primary use so far has been for customer service, but the product can also be used to generate performance statistics for stations and operators.

This product has two benefits that are new to the market.

  1. A “Time Travel” feature that allows you to define the status of a station or journey for a specific time of interest – not just the final status.
  2. A complete record of the “Expected times” for stations and journeys.

Put these two together, and you can verify passenger claims about what departure boards were saying at any given time, how this changed, and why that influenced their behaviour, e.g. thinking they had time to spare, but returning to a platform to find the train departed.

As an API provider our primary job is to get the data right. But to show how this new time travel feature allows changes in expected times to be explored we have developed a web front-end to TAPI Rail Performance.

The example above shows how to query the journeys that arrived, or departed Exeter St David’s between 19:15 and 21:15 on 12 Sep 2023. The time of interest controls your time travel – by setting it to 20:15 you’ll see the actual times that had been recorded up to that point, and the expected times that were predicted for services that hadn’t yet arrived or departed. Shifting the time of interest allows you to time travel to see that status either further ahead, or back in time.

You can drill down to a particular journey, and apply the same time shift approach to see how expected times vary as the journey progressed. At 19:30 the Paddington-Plymouth train was expected to depart Exeter St Davids at 20:06.

By 20:10 this prediction had moved back to 20:14.

Jumping ahead to after the journey had finished, we can see that the actual departure time (and final expected prediction) was 20:16.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about this new explorer tool, or how TAPI Rail Performance could be integrated into your technology stack.