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 source software is often cheaper, more flexible and has more longevity than its proprietary peers because it is developed by communities rather than a single author or company.

ATCOCode (Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers Code)

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

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 PDF iconNational Access Points.


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.

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.


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 to councils who then update their own information based on this data, so operators endeavour to provide Traveline with up-to-date information at all times. A similar entity named Transport Direct deals with travel on a national basis, including private forms of transport and aviation.

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.

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 minute early or five minutes late.

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 make their instructions obvious through their number alone.

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 amount and means although values of around 4 per passenger journey are typical. Some contracts involve paying the relevant authority for the right to run the service instead of receiving a subsidy. In London, contracts involve Transport for London receiving all fares and instead paying operators a set fee.