Exploring and analysing open transport data (with a focus on SCOOT data and bikeshare data)

Wednesday 28 April 2021
10:00 - 12:00 (BST)
Online (via Zoom)

The availability of open data has been growing. Local authorities and companies have been making real-time and historical data, many of which crowd-sourced, available online (through APIs).

The often fine temporal and spatial granularity and the real-time nature of these data enrich the set of available data for cutting-edge transport research. These datasets also become good complements of traditional datasets.

In this webinar, led by UBDC’s Dr Chau Man Fung, we will introduce some open transport data commonly used in transport research. We will use two examples (Glasgow traffic counts and shared-bike availability and rental records) to demonstrate how to access the data using simple tools. In addition, we will illustrate how these datasets relate to some UBDC research. The first example is a visualisation of changes in traffic counts over an extended period of time covering pre-lockdown to present. The second example is our study which takes the Glasgow Subway closure in July 2016 as a natural experiment to evaluate the effect of subway closure on bike-sharing trips. This will help transport students and the public explore open transport data and expand their usable datasets for research projects.

Session format

The first half of the webinar (45 minutes) will be a presentation covering 1) some open transport data sources, and 2) an overview on a research paper (including research questions, data, model and results) using the same form of data acquired from one of these sources.

After a 15-minute break, the second half of the webinar will be a tutorial demonstrating how to access, process, visualise and analyse the data. Two examples will be used: 1) Glasgow traffic counts, message boards, parking availability; 2) shared-bike availability and rental records.

What you will learn

After the session, attendees will be able to:

  • List sources of open transport data available online (traffic counts and bikeshare data in particular)
  • Use simple tools to acquire real-time/historical data mentioned
  • Process and visualise these commonly-used transport datasets

Who should attend

Researchers, planners, students and anyone interested in using open data in transport research.

Prior knowledge requirements

No prior knowledge is required but an interest in the R language is desirable.

Data and software requirements

In the session, we will work in R to access open transport data through the use of APIs. Therefore, datasets will not be provided. Scripts and notebooks used in the session will be shared on a GitHub repository after the session.

While some of the APIs used in the session do not require an API key, you will need to sign up for an API key in advance to access the traffic and mobility data provided by Glasgow City Council.

Software requirements:


Registration for this online event is free and available via Eventbrite. Full details and instructions for joining will be circulated post-registration.