ADD2442 TravelTime Platform Application Programming Interface Renewal

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2442
Date signed: 
18 March 2020
Decision by: 
Jeremy Skinner, Assistant Director of Strategy, Insight & Intelligence

Executive summary

The GLA produces several interactive web maps for use by the public and professionals. The ability to show travel times from a chosen location and to filter search results by travel time and mode adds value to high profile maps including the London Schools Atlas.

The TravelTime platform from iGeolise is based on a regularly-updated database of timetables including national rail services and TfL-run services and also provides estimates of walking, cycling and driving times.

The licence will allow the GLA to access the TravelTime platform via its API, sending a series of queries and receiving answers in return.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Strategy, Intelligence and Analysis approves:

1. expenditure of £24,000 for 24 months access from April 2019 until March 2021 to the TravelTime API; and

2. a related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to competitively procure such services and supplies.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The GLA produces a number of interactive web maps for use by the public and professionals. The ability to show travel times from a chosen location and to filter search results by travel time and mode adds value to high profile maps including the London Schools Atlas and Workspaces map.

The 2050 Infrastructure Mapping Application contains information about over 12,000 development projects across London and over the next 20 years. At present, users can filter the projects by area (such as Ward, or Opportunity Area). However, the next stage of development requires the ability to show the benefits of new infrastructure and model the impacts of construction. Both of these are best understood by time contours as well as distance contours.

The TravelTime platform from iGeolise is based on a regularly updated database of timetables including national rail services, as well as TfL run services. As well as public transport, it provides estimates of walking, cycling and driving times. The API (application programming interface) has been in use by the GLA since 2014 with authority provided by DAR ‘Travel Time Search API’ (4/11/2014), ADD2005 and ADD2249.

The requirement is for the ability to generate travel time catchments or contours, based on a chosen location, travel mode and time. For environmental assessments (such as noise from a construction site) distance is typically used. However, for understanding people’s movements, decisions (such as commutes to work, or visits to attractions) are based more on the amount of time that people are willing to travel (which may not be a perfect circle, due to fast roads, rail links, natural barriers, etc).

The GLA has two broad types of use for travel time catchments:

• as part of wider pieces of analysis by the City Intelligence Unit (for instance, the current work assessing the health of high streets); and
• as part of an interactive web map (for instance the Schools Atlas, https://maps.london.gov.uk/schools).

There are three particular requirements for the solution:

• The travel time contours need to be generated on demand. There are an infinite number of possible starting locations and a very large number of time/ mode combinations, meaning that purchasing a set of predefined catchments is not practical.
• Work via an API (where queries are sent to the supplier and answers received in return). This supports use 1. (GLA analysts) and also means that a seamless experience can be created for users of web maps.
• Charging plan that allows for a large number of different queries to be submitted and contours to be created (this is needed to support public facing GLA web maps where a user could click anywhere in London to generate a catchment).

Officers acknowledge that section 9 of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code requires that services/supplies with an estimated value of between £10,000 and £150,000 should be procured competitively. However, Section 10 provides that an exemption from this requirement may be approved where a supplier has had previous involvement in a specific current project or the where the work proposed is a continuation of existing work, which cannot be separated from the new work. Desk-based market scanning was carried out by the GLA in preparation for this ADD. The outcome of market scanning process was that iGeolise provided the closest product to the requirements, in that it generates a ‘travel catchment’ based on chosen location, travel mode and time, it works via an API behind the scenes, meaning that users do not have to navigate away from the GLA map to visit another page and it has a charging plan that allows for a large number of different queries to be submitted and contours to be created.

There are lots of suppliers of single journey travel tools (i.e. tools that answer the question “I want to go from A to B”). However, the creation of travel time contours involves generating all possible routes, then joining up the endpoints to create a shape. This is a more powerful tool for analysis, but it is a highly specialist service with a very small pool of current suppliers. It is not available via an existing framework.

The GLA’s inhouse GIS team is able to generate ‘walking catchments’ or ‘driving catchments’ from a fixed number of points (for instance, to identify access to green space or town centres) using desktop GIS. However, a service that also includes public transport and the ability to create catchments on demand for any starting point in London is not available inhouse. There is therefore, a lack of meaningful competition for the services and supplies required and so, given iGeolise’s previous licensing to the GLA of the TravelTime API and the GLA’s use of the same it is unlikely that an alternative provider would be able to provide a more economically advantageous bid than iGeolise if a competitive procurement exercise were to be conducted.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The licence will allow the GLA to access the TravelTime platform via its API, sending a series of queries and receiving answers in return.

The API will be accessed by the following GLA maps:

• Schools Atlas;
• Cultural Infrastructure Map;
• 2050 Infrastructure Map;
• Infrastructure Mapping Application; and
• Retail/High Streets analysis.

Equality comments

The GLA has taken appropriate steps to ensure that there are no potential negative impacts expected on those with protected characteristics as required by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). Those with protected characteristics will gain from the positive benefits of the TravelTime platform as it brings together a range of public transport, pedestrian and cycling options into a single place as part of the user’s decision-making process. There will be equality of access to the GLA web maps using TravelTime, without discrimination.

Other considerations

a) key risks and issues

Possible risk – Non delivery
Mitigation – Delivery is via web-based key, available immediately

Possible risk – transport data is out of date
Mitigation – data is updated weekly

Possible risk – Not compatible with GLA systems
Mitigation – Uses well established web standards and is already in use on GLA web applications

Possible risk – GLA unable to deliver analysis
Mitigation – Purchase access to this service

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

Schools Atlas - The Atlas is part of the Mayor's programme of initiatives aimed at driving up standards in education and ensuring there are enough places for all children in the city.

2050 Infrastructure Map – Ensuring that there is sufficient infrastructure to support London’s projected population growth

c) consultation

Officers from other directorates who make use of the service have been consulted and support its renewal. The project does not process personal data and so does not fall under GDPR or require a Data Protection Impact Assessment.

GLA officers involved in the drafting or clearance of this form do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial comments

Assistant Director’s approval is sought for expenditure of £24,000 for 24 months access to the Travel Time API from iGeolise. This will be funded from 2019-20 (£12,000) and 2020-21 (£12,000) Ordnance Survey budget that is part of City Intelligence unit.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

PO to be raised once ADD has been approved

Delivery Start Date

1 April 2019

Delivery End Date

31 March 2021

Project Closure

31 March 2021


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