Dutch cities to develop European mobility data standard

Cities Today: “Five Dutch cities – Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and The Hague – are collaborating to establish a new standard for the exchange of data between cities and shared mobility operators.

In partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water, the five cities, known as the G-5, will develop the City Data Standard – Mobility (CDS-M). The platform will allow information on mobility patterns, including the use of shared vehicles, traffic flows and parking, to be shared in compliance with Europe’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

So far, the working group has been focused on internal capacity-building, and members are set to delve into key thematic  areas from early June.

Speaking to Cities Today, Ross Curzon-Butler, Chairperson of the City of Amsterdam’s Data Specification for Mobility Working Group and Chief Technology Officer at Dutch start-up Cargoroo, said:“The key thing is about making sure the data is accessible to cities in a way that is proportional and compliant with GDPR.

“What we have to recognise is that cities are going to ask transport firms for data. This is coming, whether we like it or not. We therefore have the impetus to make sure that the data requested is in a standardised way, and that there’s a standardised understanding of why they’re being asked for that data.”…

Curzon-Butler sees the new standard as complementing, rather than competing with, the Open Mobility Foundation’s Mobility Data Specification (MDS), which is already used in several European cities, including Lisbon….

The CDS-M consists of the “standard”, the technical design, and the “agreement”, that details which organisations are involved in data processing. The agreement framework is now under development and will be established by a working group comprising mobility operators, urban planners, data scientists, code developers, data protection officers, and security experts.

“If you’re a city, or a data processor or a transport operator and you start asking people for different data points and asking for it in different formats, and across different standards, it becomes unmanageable,” Curzon-Butler said.

“And the development time in all of these things is already high enough, so what we’re trying to do is normalise the data flow as much as possible, so that everyone in that data chain doesn’t have these huge overheads that just grow and grow, where you’re then having to manage multiple dialects and standards and trying to understand ‘who’s got what data and what are they really doing with it?’.

“And in Europe we have GDPR, which is a very serious regulation that we have to be very mindful and aware of.”

He referenced a recent case where the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) fined the City of Enschede €600,000 (US$730,000) for its use of Wi-Fi sensors to measure the number of people in the city centre.

It is understood to be the first time the regulator has imposed a fine on a government body under the GDPR but the case could have implications for cities well beyond the Netherlands. Enschede is appealing the decision…(More)”