In the UK, road data is historically not easily accessible or discoverable, and there’s not a unified platform built for organisations to know what data is available. Recognising this, the Department for Transport (DfT) wanted to provide the right digital infrastructure and enable easier access to the UK’s road transport data through a National Access Point (NAP).
A NAP is a catalogue of transport metadata used to index data, originally mandated by EU Directive 2010/40/EU. DfT has decided to implement a NAP beyond this original scope to include specified data for all roads with the ultimate goal of extending to all UK transport data. The current NAP is data.gov.uk, which doesn’t provide the service management or features required for finding transport data easily. There’s limited dataset discoverability because metadata (data that describes the contents of a dataset) quality is poor, and there are many out of date and orphaned datasets.
We supported the DfT to better understand the needs of both publishers and users of transport data, to help determine the most efficient, effective and valuable way to implement a NAP.
From the discovery phase, we learnt that building a feedback loop between data publishers and users would help establish the value of data, which would justify the resource publishers need to create, publish, maintain and continuously improve data.
During the Alpha phase, we developed multiple prototypes, which took the form of clickable or static digital mock-ups. We also built a custom implementation of a Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network or CKAN, an open-source platform, with both mock-up data and real data imported from data.gov.uk.