KPMG with the Department for Transport

Performance Improvement in the Public Sector

Buses are integral to everyday life in Britain and are the most used form of public transport. But when annual usage statistics for 2018/19 showed that passenger volumes had fallen by 11.9% over ten years, the Department for Transport (DfT) realised that the experience needed an upgrade.

The DfT decided that creating an open platform ‘source of truth’ collating bus timetable and fare information from all of England’s 400 bus operators would improve travel information and increase bus patronage. It ran a procurement process and appointed KPMG in 2018. Since then, KPMG has been leading on the project, designing the platform, putting it live and continuously enhancing it.

The Bus Open Data Service (BODS) is a world-first that means data from bus operators can be accessed with a just a few clicks by data consumers (passenger app developers, mapping providers, researchers etc) to find out timetable, fare and location information for any bus anywhere in the country.

This was by its nature a highly technical project and required leading-edge digital consulting capabilities – something that KPMG was excited to embrace and passionate about delivering.

The open data service indexes and makes available transport data using industry open standards (e.g. TranxChange, NeTEx, SIRI). These can then be accessed by data consumers via a variety of methods: rest APIs, front-end dashboards and bulk downloads. Experience with existing metropolitan services shows this will lead to innovations within the digital transport sector while providing valuable insight for researchers and policymakers seeking to increase public transport use and reduce carbon emissions.

KPMG also ensured that the design of BODS’ data capture and processing, and all business activities, comply with strict Government Digital Service (GDS) standards. This enables bus operators to meet their legislative requirements on information publication of the 2017 Bus Services Act, upholding standards that support the bus industry.

KPMG worked right across the whole spectrum of project needs – design, automation testing, deployment and implementation while ensuring that data was complete, accurate and timely.

The programme required extensive user research with stakeholders, ranging from data publishers such as bus operators and local authorities, to consumers, including passengers and journey planning providers.

The project has been a significant success. Through KPMG’s agile methodologies, technical expertise and joined-up multi-disciplinary approach, we helped reduce the BODS programme’s time-to-market by 30 percent, and gave DfT the confidence it needs in BODS.

User data clearly shows that BODS is being embraced and utilised as envisaged:

  • API hits reached 100m in the month of July 2022 alone as users accessed real-time bus information and we expect this volume to become the norm
  • The number of unique consumer users has reached 275

KPMG is proud to have led the design, testing and deployment of BODS – and is committed to ensuring that its public value extends as far as possible, in turn supporting increased bus usage and a better passenger experience across the country

View the KPMG in the UK profile in the MCA Members Directory.