City of York Council

Sector
Public Sector – Local Authority

About the council
City of York Council (CoYC) is the local authority of the City of York, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. It provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority.

CoYC had been working with mxData since 2006 and after the initial success the council had benefited from, plans were made to revise previous applications and to encompass newer native smartphone features. This led to increased discussions in 2012 where the idea to launch three separate cross-platform applications was born.

The challenge
The new project required mxData to work very closely and with a number of stakeholders to fully understand the different types of data which could be made available.

The overall solution needed to address the fundamental requirements around two key user groups who travelled in and around the city:

  • Car travellers – Interested in live traffic, CCTV of the road network, car park availability in a specific area or along a known route.
  • Public transport travellers – Interested in location of nearby transport hubs as well as live departures and arrivals.

The final challenge to this project was the implement a process that allowed five different products to be launched within the same time frame. As the apps were across different platforms (Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry and a traditional desktop website) each app store came with a different store submission process and timescale – which were all completely out of mxData’s control.

The solution
mxData’s technical team in Cambridge took on the initial task of determining how to best handle all of the relative data services including feed aggregation and presentable APIs for use.

Submitting each app to the different app stores within a specified timeframe required hands on project management and organisation. mxData synchronised this process so that each app was launched and publically available within one week, allowing CoYC to market the new product effectively to their residents without any delays.

Results
The final delivery led to three dedicated mobile applications that supported a number of platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone V7.5 Each application was developed to suit the exacting requirements to suit CoYC’s requirement and budgetary considerations.

  • York Live
  • Bus York
  • York Park and Ride

All three mobile applications have a transport bias and feature a very similar look and feel to ensure continuity. The applications were published in 2013 and operate across a wide range of mobile platforms and a generic desktop website.

York Live provides a quick and painless solution to data extraction and delivery of mobile content and because the map is already on the phone, accessing information regarding the Road Network, Car Parks, VMS, CCTV and Public Transport Information is made easy.

google-play-badge  download-ios

york-live-mxdata-app

Bus York helps travellers to plan which bus to take to get to their destination. With departure boards, times, specific bus information and Twitter feeds from York Council, travelers have all the bus travel information they need for in and around the city.

google-play-badge  download-ios

Features include:

  • Search via town, street, postcode and bus stop code.
  • Bus stops listed alphabetically.
  • Bus stop detail includes map view, route and departure information.
  • View ‘nearby’ stops on map including access to York schematic map.
  • Favourites to save your stops for quick access.
  • Bus stop departure details list the next 20 buses.
  • Twitter feed via York Council for up to the minute traffic information.

york-bus-app-mxdata

York Park & Ride helps the travelling public make the most of their time in the historic walled city.

google-play-badge  download-ios

The application offers features like:

  • Interactive York Park & Ride map with multiple zoom levels.
  • Live bus departure information showing route and stop detail.
  • Personalisation to save favourite stops.
  • Park & Ride parking space information.
  • Search for a bus stop. Detail includes distance to the stop and can be viewed on a map too.
  • Twitter feed. View all the latest tweets from @york_travel.

york-park-ride

Testimonial

“City of York Council and mxData have been working together for a number of years developing and operating the ‘YorkLIVE’ suite of mobile apps and website. Over this time, mxData have provided high quality technical input and have proved well capable of undertaking the design, production and commissioning of the various apps and website. They have also provided an invaluable service in guiding and advising the Council on the planning and development of the service by demonstrating a deep understanding of the mobile market, the technologies it uses and upcoming trends and issues. Their close relationship with the mobile phone manufacturers and network operators has allowed the Council to confidently developed a roadmap for the development of the service that would not have been possible without their input.”

Darren Capes, City of York Council

Next steps
In mid-2015 further engagement took place with CoYC and a decision was made to consolidate the three current applications into a single source solution which was forecasted to be live at the end of Q1 2016.

This new app will incorporate much of the original functionality whilst offering additional features like localised journey and cycle planning as well as timetable publication across public transport services. This decision was taken in order to streamline CoYCl’s output and a specification of delivery targets have already been agreed.

CoYC was satisfied this forward thinking approach, combined with having mxData as a continued technology partner, would re-establish their position on the cutting edge of Local Authority smartphone applications in the traffic and transport sector.