A

A11y (Accessibility)

Accessibility is one of the most important considerations in transport apps and websites. It means making an app or website accessible to users in more challenging situations and for those with disabilities. Accessibility is often referred to as A11y for short. A11Y is a numeronym (similar to an acronym) with the first and last letters of …

API (Application Programming Interface)

A software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other. An API is a set of commands, functions, protocols, and objects that programmers can use to create software or interact with an external system. It provides developers with standard commands for performing common operations so they do not have to write the code …

App store

An online shop where apps can be found and downloaded to your mobile phone. The app store for Android devices is called the Play Store. The app store for Apple devices is actually called the ‘App Store’.

ATCOCode (Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers Code)

A unique identifier UK-wide for bus stops used in NaPTAN.

AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location)

Automatic Vehicle Location systems provide the GPS coordinates where a vehicle actually is.

B

BODS (Bus Open Data Service)

BODS provides bus timetable data for every local bus service in England. It emerged from the Bus Services Act 2017, which included improvements designed to make commercial bus services more accessible to passengers and is a Department for Transport led initiative to enable new applications, products and services for passengers. Commercial bus operators must add …

BSOG (Bus Service Operators Grant)

A grant paid to operators of eligible bus services and community transport organisations to help them recover some of their fuel costs. The amount each bus operator receives is based on their annual fuel consumption. BSOG also benefits passengers by: helping operators keep fares down enabling operators to run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and …

Bugs

Mistakes in code that keep a website or program from working properly.

Byte

A byte is the smallest addressable unit of memory in a computer, commonly made up of eight binary digits.

C

Cache

A software cache stores data so that future requests for that data can be served faster; the data stored in a cache is the result of an earlier request for the same data which is then stored locally or somewhere along the network, such as a router or switch network device. The more requests that …

Cloud computing

Where data is not stored locally on your own computer, but is spread out among a number of remote servers accessible through the Internet. Services like Google Docs and Gmail are examples of cloud computing—you are interacting with data on your home computer that is stored externally in “the cloud.”

Cloudflare

Provide content-delivery-network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security and distributed domain-name-server services. Cloudflare’s services sit between a website’s visitor and the Cloudflare user’s hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites.

CMS (Content Management System)

Software that facilitates creating, editing, organising and publishing content. Drupal and WordPress are examples of Content Management Systems that allow you to create and publish content on the Internet.

Code/coding

Computer code is a set of rules or instructions that tells a computer what you want it to do. Coding, or programming, is a way of writing instructions for computers that bridges the gap between how humans can express themselves and how computers actually work.

Commercial Service

A journey operated without financial assistance of any kind. Services of this kind are entirely dependent on its passengers to provide sufficient funds in the form of fares for it to sustain a profit. Some commercial services may be operated under contract to specific organisations with no financial benefit to speak of other than fare …

Contracted Service

A journey that is operated according to a contract between two or more organisations, at least one of whom is a bus service provider. Most contracts of this nature provide financial benefit to the operator, usually from a council, and are legally required to be put out to tender among interested parties; payments vary in …

Cookies

A small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user’s computer by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing. Cookies were designed to be a mechanism for websites to remember information (such as items in a shopping cart) or to record the user’s browsing activity.

CSV file

CSV is a simple file format used to store tabular data, such as a spreadsheet or database. Files in the CSV format can be imported and exported from programs that store data in tables, such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc. CSV stands for “comma-separated values”.

D

DDOS (Distributed denial-of-service)

An attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The Domain Name System is the phonebook of the internet. Each device connected to the internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device. DNS servers eliminate the need for us to memorise IP addresses such as 192.168.123.1

Downtime & Uptime

Downtime and uptime describe how long a website, computer or other system has been working (uptime) or not working (downtime).

E

ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme)

A national scheme funded and run by the Department for Transport and administered by Local Authorities across England. The scheme provides all eligible elderly English residents, and eligible disabled people, with free off-peak bus travel on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. Within Greater London the scheme is linked to the Freedom …

Entitlement

A tickets ‘entitlement’ defines when and how it can be used. Fixed date tickets can be used many times during a valid date range i.e a school term pass. Fixed date ticket entitlement will be a date range. Flexible tickets are valid for use over a set time period e.g a day ticket which can …

ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival)

ETA is often displayed on the screens on bus stops or train stations. It is a prediction of when a vehicle will arrive, based on where it is at that moment. It can also be used by a journey planner as an indication of when a traveller will arrive at a destination.

ETM (Electronic Ticketing Machine)

ETMs are machines with computer processors and memory which issue tickets for travel. ETMs are either designed for in-vehicle use, as fixed or handheld units, or for use at stations and other off-bus locations in the form of electronic kiosks.  In-vehicle fixed electronic ticket machines (ETM) are most commonly used on bus services, although they …

F

Firewall

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and untrusted external network, such as the Internet.

Front end

Front end is used to describe all the parts of a website that can be seen and interacted with by users.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP essentially transfers web page files to the computer server so others can access them. FTP can also be used to download files or programs from the Internet to your computer. When you download these files, you are transferring them from other servers through FTP.

G

GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification)

The open data standard for bikeshare. GBFS makes real-time data feeds in a uniform format publicly available online, with an emphasis on findability. Under the North American Bikeshare Association’s leadership, GBFS has been developed by public, private sector and non-profit bike share system owners and operators, application developers, and technology vendors. GBFS is intended as a specification …

GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification)

A data specification that allows public transport operators to publish their transit data in a format that can be consumed by a wide variety of software applications. Today, the GTFS data format covers both static and real-time data and is used by thousands of public transport providers. You can learn more about the GTFS specification …

H

HOPS (Host Operator or Processing System)

The central system which holds information about everyone’s smart cards. HOPS automates many of the complex daily tasks of a smart transport ticketing scheme including transaction processing and asset management.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)

HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

I

i18n (Internationalisation)

Internationalisation (sometimes shortened to “I18N, meaning “I – eighteen letters -N”) is the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures, a process called localization. The numbers refer to the number of letters in the words (because it’s easier to type). In …

Internet

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business and government networks, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such …

IP address (Internet Protocol address)

An IP address is used to identify computers on the Internet. It works like a return address would on a piece of mail. When your computer or device sends a request, like a search on Google, it tags the request with your IP address. That way Google knows where to send the response.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

An Internet service provider is an organisation that provides services for accessing, using or participating in the Internet. ISP’s can be organised in various forms, such as commercial, community-owned, non-profit or privately owned.

ISRN

The serial number encoded on a smart card but not known to a customer.

ITSO

ITSO are the guardian of the ITSO Specification, which aims to make travelling on public transport throughout the UK seamless and easier by enabling smart ticketing technology.  The ITSO community is a membership of public sector authorities, transport operators and equipment and solution suppliers to the smart ticketing industry, who use the ITSO Specification to …

J

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)

JSON is a text-based data interchange format designed for transmitting structured data. It is most commonly used for transferring data between web applications and web servers. JSON is often viewed as an alternative to XML, another plain text data interchange format.

L

L10n (Localisation)

Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or system to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market (a locale). Localisation is sometimes written as l10n (where 10 is the number of letters in the English word between l and n). L10n covers translating and things like changing date formats, e.g. translating Cardiff …

Local Service / Local Bus Service Registration

A bus service that uses public service vehicles to carry passengers who pay separate fares over short distances – usually less than 15 miles from the point of boarding.  Operators of Local Bus Services must register their services with the Traffic Commissioner and provide copies of the registrations to the local authorities the services pass …

M

Markup language

A computer language that uses tags to define elements within a document. It is human-readable, meaning markup files contain standard words, rather than typical programming syntax. XML is called the “Extensible Markup Language” since custom tags can be used to support a wide range of elements.

MCRN

Serial number printed on the front of a smart card.

Metadata

Metadata is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data and can be used for the purposes of discovery and identification.

N

NAP (National Access Points)

National Access Points facilitate access, easy exchange and reuse of transport-related data to help support the provision of EU-wide interoperable travel and traffic services to end-users. They can take various forms (database, data warehouse, data marketplace, repository, web portal etc) depending on the type of data concerned. List of National Access Points.

NaPTAN (National Public Transport Access Node)

The UK’s national dataset of public transport access points (bus stops, rail stations, airports, ferry piers, tram/metro/underground stops) is known as the NaPTAN database. It records approximately 400,000 bus stops across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as other transport terminals including rail stations and airports. NaPTAN consists of: A standard for identifying and naming …

National Operator Code dataset (NOC)

The National Operator Code dataset (NOC) contains unique national operator codes that link to the local operator codes in the Traveline National Data Set (TNDS) and NextBuses API. A key part of the TNDS, its main purpose is to provide a single controlled list of (public service vehicle) operators and their public names. The NOC …

Native apps

Native apps are made specifically for certain platforms. They only run on the platforms they were built for, and are stored locally on those devices.

NeTEx

The multimodal data standard that can be used to transmit bus information including routes and timetables, fares and tickets and real time information.

NextBuses API

An open API from Traveline. The API allows users to access live departure information by stop across Great Britain. Real-time information is provided where it is available and scheduled departures where not. The API is based on the SIRI standard, using the SIRI-SM function through a request/response communication mechanism. SIRI is an XML protocol that …

NFC (Near Field Communication)

Often used for payments, NFC transmits data to enable two devices to communicate with each other. To work, both devices must contain NFC chips and be placed very close together.

NPTG (National Public Transport Gazetteer)

The NPTG is closely associated with the NaPTAN dataset and contains details of every city, town, village and suburb in Great Britain. This dataset is based on usage of names, rather than legal definitions and so includes local informal names for places as well as their official names. As a topographic database of towns and …

O

Open Data

Open data is data that has been made available to the public for personal, educational or commercial use. It is usually released under an open data license, such as the Open Government License Version 3.0. Many public transport operators release their data as open data. Certain datasets must be released to the public under UK …

Open Graph Tags

Open Graph is a technology first introduced by Facebook in 2010 that allows integration between Facebook and its user data, and a website. By integrating Open Graph meta tags into the content of your pages, you can identify which elements of your page you want to show when someone shares your page.

Open Source

Open source is a term that originally referred to open source software (OSS). Open source software is code that is designed to be publicly accessible—anyone can see, modify, and distribute the code as they see fit. Open source software is developed in a decentralized and collaborative way, relying on peer review and community production. Open …

OS (Operating system)

An operating system is the most important software that runs on a computer. It manages the computer’s memory and processes, as well as all of its software and hardware. It also allows users to communicate with the computer without knowing how to speak the computer’s language.

P

PBS (Public Bike Share)

Bike share can be broadly defined as any setting where bicycles are pooled for multiple users. Models include Public Bike Share (PBS) – self-service on-street docked or dockless stations – workplace pool bikes, train/bus station hubs, loans, lockers and peer to peer sharing. PBS schemes often make their bike and bay/dock locations available as a public API. …

PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

PCI is an industry standard designed to make it safer to use credit cards online by making sure that business collecting credit card data transmit and store it securely.

PHP

PHP is a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development. The name PHP is a recursive acronym, originally derived from Personal Home Page Tools, but now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.

PSP (Payment Service Provider)

Offers retailers online services for accepting electronic payments by a variety of methods including credit card, bank-based payments such as direct debit, bank transfer, and real-time bank transfer based on online banking.

PVR (Peak Vehicle Requirement)

The maximum number of buses required to keep a service (or groups of services where they share vehicles) operating correctly. This can usually be calculated through careful observation of the timetable; a service that runs every 15 minutes and takes 40 minutes from end-to-end would usually have a Peak Vehicle Requirement of six vehicles (with …

Q

QR code (Quick Response code)

The trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.

R

Responsive design

The practice of designing websites so that they adapt easily to different-sized devices like phones, tablets, wearables etc. If you’re able to visit a website on your phone and it looks just as proportional and pretty as it does on your computer, it’s an example of responsive web design.

RTPI (Real Time Passenger Information)

Provides you with information about public transport services in ‘real time’. This allows you to see which services are due to arrive at stops and what time they are expected.

Running Number

A number used to identify the specific duty any one bus is following for a day, with variations across the country. Other names are sometimes applied, such as car number, carriage number, car run, diagram or duty. Running cards are allocated to vehicles to identify its service for the day and may or may not …

S

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

The process of optimising your website to get more organic or un-paid traffic from the search engine results page.

SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

The list of web pages served to users when they look for something online using a search engine, such as Google. The user enters their search query (using specific terms or phrases known as keywords), upon which the search engine presents them with a SERP.

SIRI (Service Interface for Real Time Information)

In order to make real-time transport information compatible between different systems, several European countries joined efforts to create a standard protocol known as Service Interface for Real Time Information (SIRI). This protocol describes (at length!) how different systems can share real-time passenger information, allowing different suppliers, operators and local authorities to work together without costly …

SIRI-SM (Stop Monitoring)

A feed for the estimated time of arrival of a vehicle to a particular stop. SIRI-SM can also include further information about vehicles such as the vehicle’s location.

SIRI-VM (Vehicle Monitoring)

Providing a map with live tracking of vehicles is possible thanks to the SIRI-VM feed. SIRI -VM can also include further information about upcoming stops, such as the vehicle’s ETA.

Sitemaps

Sitemaps are outlines or maps of the pages that make up a website. They show the relationship between the pages and links, apps, videos, or other components, and can take the form of a document or its own page on the website.

Software

Software is a program or set of instructions that tells a computer, phone or tablet what to do. Software includes individual applications (web browsers or word processors) as well as system software like operating systems (Microsoft Windows), drivers (software that allows operating systems to communicate with hardware like printers) and utilities (tools like anti-virus programs …

Sprint

A period of time (e.g. 14 days) in which an agreed-upon set of development tasks takes place. Sprints are short blocks of development time that allow new functionality and improvements to be in customers’ hands as quickly as possible.

Staging environment

A staging environment is a copy of your production environment (your current live website or app) on a private server. This is a safe place that will allow you to test any changes – major or minor – that you plan on implementing in a secure environment preventing any unexpected errors on your live website …

T

Timing Point

A point on any bus service, usually but not always represented by a bus stop, at which buses are expected to arrive and/or depart at the time indicated. Notwithstanding exceptional circumstances such as roadworks, operators are required to ensure that 95% of services serve all timing points within the window of not more than one …

TLS (Transport Layer Security – formerly SSL)

The standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. TLS is an industry standard and replaced SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in 1999. SSL (now considered insecure) is still in use as …

TNDS (Traveline National Dataset)

The Traveline National Dataset (TNDS) contains public transport timetables for bus, light rail, tram and ferry services in Great Britain. It does not include national rail or coach services. It is managed by Traveline Information Ltd (TIL) who work with local authorities to bring all public transport timetables into a single dataset. The dataset provides …

TOTO (Tap On, Tap Off) contactless

Tap On, Tap Off is one of several names given to the type of contactless payment method that allows you to simply “tap” your contactless payment card (or device) onto a reader at the start of your journey and “tap” again on a reader when you complete your journey. What you are charged for the …

Traffic Commissioner

A Government official responsible for overseeing bus services throughout their respective regions. They have the power to summon and discipline bus service providers whom they deem to be providing an inadequate service, especially where services run unreasonably poorly and/or are changed without permission. In exceptional circumstances, they can withdraw operators^ licences to provide services.

Traveline

Traveline: A service funded by public transport companies across the country. Its aim is to provide comprehensive information on bus services on a regional basis, with some overlap between departments, to assist passengers in getting where they need to go, whilst also providing lesser information on other forms of public transport. Its information is relayed …

TXC (TransXChange)

The UK national standard for exchanging bus schedules and related data. It is used for: the electronic registration of bus routes the Traffic Area Network the exchange of bus routes with other computer systems such as journey planners and vehicle real-time tracking systems. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/transxchange

U

UI (User interface)

User interface includes all the parts of a website, app, computer, smartphone, etc. that the user can manipulate and interact with. Display and touch screens, website menus, keyboards, your cursor—these are all part of a user interface.

Uptime & Downtime

Uptime and downtime describes how long a website, computer, or other system has been working (uptime) or not working (downtime).

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL (colloquially termed a web address) is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it.

UX (User experience)

UX describes the emotions, attitudes and ease-of-use a person has when using a product or service. UX Design is the practice of using design to improve communication between a product and its user in order to enhance the user’s overall experience.

V

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

The Government agency responsible for dealing with certain kinds of commercial road-based operators, including bus service providers. Companies are required by Law to submit confirmed changes at least 56 days before said changes are implemented, although in special situations that can be relaxed.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

An isolated network of computers using existing infrastructure, such as a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN or Internet) to securely connect to each other. When you use a public WiFi network, for instance, your device and data are theoretically accessible by everyone else on the network. When using a VPN, you’re still …

W

WAF (Web Application Firewall)

A WAF filters, monitors, and blocks HTTP traffic to and from a web application. A WAF is differentiated from a regular firewall in that a WAF is able to filter the content of specific web applications while regular firewalls serve as a safety gate between servers.

Web servers

Web servers are computers used to store websites, online apps, documents, pictures or other data, and can be accessed through the Internet by way of applications like web browsers or file transfer protocol (FTP) clients. When you visit a website with the browser on your computer or phone, you are requesting it from a web …

Wireframes

Wireframes are sketches of the key information that goes on each page of a website, essentially showing the site or page’s “skeleton.” Designers can then use this sketch as a starting point for laying out a website.

World Wide Web

An information system where documents and other web resources are identified by URLs, such as https://www.discoverpassenger.com, which may be interlinked by hypertext, and are accessible over the Internet. The resources of the WWW are transferred via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and may be accessed by users by a software application called a web browser.

X

XML (Extensible Markup Language)

A markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. 

XML Protocol

The goal of XML Protocol is to develop technologies which allow two or more peers to communicate in a distributed environment, using XML as its encapsulation language.

Y

YAML

A human-readable data-serialization language. It is commonly used for configuration files and in applications where data is being stored or transmitted. YAML is a recursive acronym for “YAML Ain’t Markup Language”.

Z

Zip

A common type of file compression. Zipping one or more files creates a compressed archive that takes up less disk space than the uncompressed version. It is useful for backing up files and reducing the size of data transferred over the Internet.