API Business Models

Building traffic data ecosystem powered by APIs

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Janne Lautanala is the Chief ecosystem and Technology Officer with Fintraffic. He discusses building a traffic data ecosystem powered by APIs in this article.

Using open data within traffic in Finland will create an additional value of 500 million Euros. The savings will comprise safety, smoothness, pollution reduction, cost reduction, increased revenue, and new businesses.

Fintraffic is a government-owned company. As part of traffic management and control, we are responsible for traffic management and control in all modes of traffic, road traffic, rail traffic, maritime traffic, and air traffic. Once we do the traffic management, we create a lot of data. We publish that in our platform through Open APIs. Different kinds of digital and user services utilize the data. Some of them offer traffic-hosted services. Users also include traffic operators, citizens, companies, and authorities. These user groups create additional data. The more the data, the more the applications that can be built to use the data.

We offer a wide range of data and services, and the key domains are situational awareness of all modes of traffic, logistics-related services, and public transport-related services. Our services are –

  • Digitraffic is the key platform with open traffic data and interfaces. Annually we have more than 4 billion API calls.
  • Traffic Situation – This is also available as a mobile app. It provides real-time traffic situations.
  • Train Departures – Train schedules are shared in real-time. It is a virtual monitor.
  • Feedback Channel – This is a channel for feedback on traffic networks
  • Digitransit – Provides public transport route and timetable information

Data can answer a lot of questions. A lot of information can be used to increase smoothness and security and reduce pollution in all modes of traffic. This needs to be done with all parties, including you.

We did an extensive interview and analysis and discovered that the building blocks for the traffic data ecosystem comprise collaboration, data and infrastructure, and a rulebook.

First of all, we need to have shared vision goals and trust. We must have the capabilities for joint development and investment. You need to coordinate these efforts. You need the technology, whether it’s data, infrastructure, APIs, or shared services. We often do not emphasize the legal framework, rules, conventions, and standards. We need all these to make it successful.

In 2021, we established a fully open traffic data ecosystem free of charge for everybody. We have more than 160 leading mobility organizations involved, including operators or authorities, academia service providers, cities, ports, etc. Our goal is to accelerate data sharing, create new data using solutions and build cost-efficient and scalable platforms and solutions for the end users. To build these services, you need to have a comprehensive set of capabilities. You must have a lucrative end-user experience.

To enable this, we have a rulebook. The rulebook defines the governance model to free up more data with or without a fee to all the parties with commonly agreed standard performance. The rulebook is based on trust and sovereignty. It’s a voluntary approach, so everybody can join or decide not to join in this. It defines the rules for data sharing, the provision of data-driven services, and the collaboration governance involved. The rulebook is based on Sitra’s Fair Data Economy Playbook.

Some of the key takeaways from the traffic data ecosystem are –

  • Ecosystem operators should be neutral parties to succeed. Major business players can be biased, or others can feel that they are biased.
  • We must have a collaboration to make this a success.
  • A rulebook is a good baseline to start data sharing in an ecosystem.
  • Identify the most valuable dataset. Create interoperability.
  • Find value for parties to make it interesting to join the ecosystem. Create quick wins.
Janne Lautanala

Janne Lautanala

Senior Technology & Innovation Leader
Janne is an accomplished digital business leader with more than 25 years of professional experience in leading organizations like Accenture, Avanade, Wärtsilä and Nokia. Currently he works as the Chief Ecosystem and Technology Officer at Fintraffic, the company responsible of traffic management and control in all modes of traffic in Finland. Throughout his career, Janne has successfully established and grown innovation programs, delivered projects and established operational capabilities in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions. He has also been involved with several major digital transformation projects in high tech, manufacturing, government, retail and telecommunication industries. As a recognized innovation leader and Industry expert, Janne had the opportunity to speak about Innovation and Information Management topics in a number of public events, television and media in Europe and Asia Pacific.

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