In Norway, the state-owned mobility services provider, Entur, has developed sales and ticketing solutions for the country’s trains, as well as a national multimodal journey planner. In addition, Entur has been charged with making public transport tickets available through a single solution nationwide.
“One trip, one ticket, one bill: that’s the service standard we’re striving for,” says Hanne Nettum Breivik, VP of Market and Mobility at Entur. Created by Norway’s Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2016 as part of the preparations for the restructuring and deregulation of the country’s rail sector, Entur’s main mission is to develop digital services that make it easier to choose public transport.
According to a former Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications, “a key step on that path is to gather information about all of Norway’s public transport into Entur. This enables people to easily find the best transportation option no matter where in the country they are and no matter how far they need to travel.”
Deregulation drives innovation
As part of Norway’s deregulation exercise, which aimed to split passenger transportation between different operators, it was also decided that travellers should be able to buy a single ticket for their train journey, even if the journey involved train rides run by several operators. “That’s why we are taking care of the sales and ticketing systems for all train operators today, both the incumbent and the new ones,” Nettum Breivik explains.
“In addition to the deregulation of all train services, there was a distinct need to establish some sort of national travel-planning system,” she continues. “This of course had to contain all of our public transport offerings, not just the train services.” But while the responsibility for train transport rests at a state level, there are no less than 11 regions responsible for local transport services in Norway today. And on top of that, there are several commercial bus operators across the different regions.
Most of Norway’s public transport is in fact operated by regional public transport authorities (PTA). “When we started, there were 19 counties and 17 regional PTAs,” Nettum Breivik says. “That number has been reduced in recent years. On the other hand, when we started out, there used to be just one train operator. Now we have four new ones, so five in total. Then there are all the commercial actors that are obliged to send us data on their routes: from express buses servicing specific areas to airport express services – both buses and trains – and even tourist routes.”
National digital infrastructure
Within the Norwegian public transport sector as a whole there are approximately 60 mobility actors who are legally obliged to share their data with Entur. “The mobility data we collect and store in our central national database serves as the foundation for the national journey planner we’ve developed as part of our national digital infrastructure,” Nettum Breivik explains.
That national journey planner is the most visible part of Entur’s digital infrastructure. Other less visible parts – at least to service users – are the national multimodal transaction platform, which is the sales and ticketing solutions platform used by the train operators and some regional PTAs, and the national innovation platform, which is mainly aimed at developers and contains all the travel data (stops, routes, prices, etc.) and the technology solutions needed for seamless ticketing.
Standardisation is key
In Norway, public transport timetable data has been collected and published for no less than 150 years. Since 1947, this has even been mandatory by law. The data formats and the levels of detail, however, have only been standardised and made compulsory in recent years. “It would be an advantage if we managed to standardise our data even more,” Nettum Breivik says. “There are still some regional differences that complicate sales and ticketing, for instance.”
To move its MaaS (Mobility as a Service) project forward, Entur first and foremost wants to get more data in its systems. The company is already using sensors to count the number of passengers on trams, collecting sensor data after each stop. And given the growing need for sustainable public transport, Entur has also started to integrate new business models and mobility services into its national travel planner.
Want to find out more about the data Entur is adding to its systems and the new mobility services it is integrating into its travel planner? Check out Entur’s full customer testimonial in our white paper on Open MaaS: ‘The future of mobility is smarter, more sustainable, inclusive and open