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Observation definitions

Please find the definitions for the observations below.

View Department for Transport's TransXChange Schema Guide

Critical observations (12)

These observations are considered critical in terms of data quality. An operator should aim to have zero critical observations in their data.

Journey

Backward date range

This observation identifies services which have a start date later than their end date. Operators should update the date range for these routes to reflect the actual start and end dates.

Impacts

A backward date range invalidates the route and can prevent it from being displayed to passengers by journey planners. This can cause severe problems for passengers.

Missing destination display

This observation identifies any journeys that do not have a destination display defined. Destination display is the name of a destination to which the bus ultimately goes and is fixed for the whole journey.

Impacts

The destination display is used by consumers to enhance the data they can provide to consumers and as a check when matching across data types. This checking ability improves the quality of information available to passengers.

Timing

Backwards timing

This observation identifies timing patterns with incorrect time sequences. A timing pattern is considered to include a backwards timing if the timing of the next stop is before the current stop, or if the departure time is prior to the arrival time.

Impacts

A backward timing indicates inaccurate scheduling, invalidating part of the route and can prevents it being displayed to passengers by journey planners. This can cause severe problems for passengers.

Fast timing between timing points

This observation identifies links between timing points that appear unfeasibly fast, meaning it would require a vehicle to travel between the points as the "crow flies" at over 70mph.

Impacts

The information provided is inaccurate and do not reflect the actual operations of the bus. This will lower the quality of data provided to passengers.

Stops

First stop is found to be set down only

This observation identifies timing patterns where the first stop is designated as set down only, meaning the bus is not scheduled to pick up passengers at this stop.

Impacts

Journey planners may not be able to show journeys ending at this stop correctly to passengers, disrupting their journeys.

Incorrect stop type

Stopping patterns are considered to be using stops of the incorrect type if the stops are not designated at bus stops within NaPTAN. Stopping patterns are considered to be using stops of the incorrect type if the stops are not designated as bus stops within NaPTAN. Expected stop types are BCT, BCQ or BCS.

BCT On-street Bus / Coach / Tram Stop
TXR Taxi Rank (head of)
STR Shared Taxi Rank (head of)
AIR Airport Entrance
GAT Airport Interchange Area
FTD Ferry Terminal / Dock Entrance
FBT Ferry or Port Berth
FER Ferry or Port Interchange Area
RSE Rail Station Entrance
RLY Railway Interchange Area
RPL Railway Platform
TMU Tram / Metro / Underground Entrance
MET Underground or Metro Interchange Area
PLT Underground or Metro platform
BCE Bus / Coach Station Entrance
BST Bus Coach Station Access Area
BCS Bus / Coach bay / stand / stance within Bus / Coach Stations
BCQ Bus Coach Station Variable Bay
LCE Lift or Cable Car Entrance
LCB Lift or Cable Car Access Area
LPL Lift or Cable Car Platform

Impacts

An incorrect stop type suggested that that stop being used, is not intended for buses. This can impede the ability of passengers to be able to find the correct location to board services, particularly when planning multimodal journeys.

Last stop is found to be pick up only

This observation identifies timing patterns where the last stop is designated to be pick up only, meaning the bus is not scheduled to drop off passengers at the last stop.

Impacts

Journey planners may not be able to show journeys ending at this stop correctly to passengers, disrupting their journeys.

Stop(s) are not found in NaPTAN

Operators should notify the relevant Local Transport Authority to request a stop in advance of the timetable being published.

This observation identifies cases where a stop used in a timetable is still not in the NaPTAN reference database. Operators should notify the relevant Local Transport Authority immediately to request the stops, notifying them of issues found by this observation.

For temporary stops that do not include a reference to NaPTAN, they must be defined geographically using a latitude and longitude in the data. This will support consumers to provide accurate stop information to passengers.

Impacts

NaPTAN provides key stop information across different transport types, enabling multi-modal journey planning that can encourage bus patronage. It is therefore important for the public transport ecosystem to work together to ensure the stop data inputted is correctly detailed and can be referenced to the NaPTAN database.

Data set

Incorrect NOC code

Operators can find their organisation’s NOC by browsing the Traveline NOC database here:

https://www.travelinedata.org.uk/traveline-open-data/transport-operations/browse/

Operators can assign a NOC to their account on this service by going to My account (in the top right-hand side of the dashboard) and choosing Organisation profile.

Impacts

The NOC is used by consumers to know which operator is running the service, and to match their data across data types. This ability improves the quality of information available to passengers.

Missing Block Number

This observation identifies if the service is valid in the next week, and when it is valid it contains block numbers. The block number needs to be the same as the corresponding object in the bus location data field 'BlockRef'.

Block number is also known as bus workings number, most frequently populated using running board information. It's a unique identifier or code (usually a simple number) that is used for all the journeys an individual bus is scheduled to work.

If an operator does not have a documented running board, they can create one by allocating each of their vehicles a 'code'. For each of the journeys operated by the same vehicle, the journey should be given a consistent identifier as the input for both the TransXChange (Block number) and SIRI-VM (Block ref). For example, Vehicle 1, could have block number = 1 allocated to all the journeys that will be completed by vehicle 1.

Impacts

This is a key piece of information for consumers to use in order to match across different data types. This enables consumers to improve their journey predictions for passengers by considering cross journey predictions. Meaning if a vehicle is late on a journey, the next journey is likely to also be running late.

Missing National Operator Code (NOC)

A National Operator Code (NOC) should be used in the OperatorRef field within the data. A NOC is considered to be missing if the OperatorRef field is empty.

Operators can find their organisation’s NOC by browsing the Traveline NOC database here:

https://www.travelinedata.org.uk/traveline-open-data/transport-operations/browse/

Operators can assign a NOC to their account on this service by going to the top right hand corner of the screen, to My account, and choosing Organisation profile from the dropdown.

Impacts

The NOC is used by consumers to know which operator is running the service, and to match their data across data types. This ability improves the quality of information available to passengers.

Schema is not TransXChange 2.4

The data provided does not align to the TransXChange 2.4 schema required to be published in accordance with the Bus Services Act 2017. The data provided is TransXChange 2.1. Operators should update their data formats to 2.4 immediately. The TransXChange 2.4 schema is described in the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/transxchange

Impacts

The data set provided does not conform to the legally required data standard: TransXchange 2.4 schema. The 2.1 format is less useful to consumers, as it describes services using an older data format. Some consumers may not be able to process this data, reducing the ability for it to be used effectively.

Advisory observations (11)

These observations suggest there may be an error in the data. However, for some types of services these may be intended by the operator. Please check that these are intentional and check for new advisory observations that may still indicate an issue with the data.

Journey

Duplicate journeys

This observation identifies any journeys that are included in data sets more than once. Journeys are considered to be duplicated if they have the same date range, follow the same timing pattern and have the same operating period and operating days.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Expired lines

This observation identifies any lines that have expired data associated with them. If you are uploading data please deactivate the file. If you are using a URL please remove the file from the url endpoint.

Journey overlap

This observation identifies cases where journeys partially overlap. A journey is considered to partial overlap if they follow the same timing pattern for at least ten stops and there is at least one day of their operating period in which they both run.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Timing

Fast running time between stops

This observation identifies links between stops that appear unfeasibly fast, meaning it would require a vehicle to travel between the stops as the "crow flies" at over 70mph.

Impacts

The information provided is inaccurate and do not reflect the actual operation of the bus. This will lower the quality of data provided to passengers.

First stop is not a timing point

A timing point is a designated stop where the bus has been registered to depart from at a specific time. The Traffic Commissioner requires registered services have the first and last stop designated as timing points for the main route variant.

Impacts

The Traffic Commissioner requires “a timetable for the service indicating the proposed times (on the days when the service is to run) of individual services at principal points on the route” and it is these points that a service's punctuality is monitored. Timing points are used to generate hard copy 'shortened' timetables at bus stops, as well as their soft copy counterparts online. If the first and last stop are not timing points, these will not be printed correctly. In turn reducing the quality of information available to passengers. This effect is particularly negative for low digital passengers who rely on hard copy timetables.

Last stop is not a timing point

A timing point is a designated stop where the bus has been registered to depart from at a specific time. The Traffic Commissioner requires registered services have the first and last stop designated as timing points for the main route variant.

Impacts

The Traffic Commissioner requires “a timetable for the service indicating the proposed times (on the days when the service is to run) of individual services at principal points on the route” and it is these points that a service's punctuality is monitored. Timing points are used to generate hard copy 'shortened' timetables at bus stops, as well as their soft copy counterparts online. If the first and last stop are not timing points, these will not be printed correctly. In turn reducing the quality of information available to passengers. This effect is particularly negative for low digital passengers who rely on hard copy timetables.

No timing point for more than 15 minutes

This observation identifies timing patterns where the interval between a pair of timing points is more than 15 minutes. It is recommended by the Traffic Commissioner that services have a stop at least every 15 minutes.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Slow running time between stops

This observation identifies links between stops that appear unfeasibly slow, meaning it would require a vehicle to travel between the stops as the "crow flies" at a speed of less than 1 mph. This implies the data provided could be inaccurate.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Slow timing between timing points

This observation identifies links between timing points that appear unfeasibly slow, meaning it would require a vehicle to travel between the points as the "crow flies" at a speed of less than 1 mph. This implies the data provided could be inaccurate.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Stops

Missing stops

This observation identifies cases where a stop may be missing from a stopping pattern from this data set provided. For example, if some journeys cover stops A, B, C and D and another journey stops at only A, B and D, stop C will be identified as a possible missing stop. If a stop is missing in the data, it cannot be show by journey planners to passengers.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.

Same stop is found multiple times

This observation identified timing patterns that feature the same stop multiple times. It is raised if a stop is included in a timing pattern four or more times. While this may not be an error, it is often caused by stringing many journeys together.

Operators should investigate the observation and address any errors found.