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When it comes to innovative developments, several heads are better than one: The more creative minds we can get together to tackle a challenging problem and outdo one another with good ideas, the greater our potential for innovation. He calls it “potential” because whether or not a solution proves successful will ultimately always depend on how much added value it brings for users and how well it works on the market.

Strengthening one’s innovative capabilities also means sharing information.
This is precisely the approach SBB is taking with its open data strategy. By providing as many interested and ambitious developers as possible with access to relevant, high-quality SBB data, we can increase our combined innovative capabilities. Peter Herzog is convinced: “Although SBB is sacrificing some of its competitive edge by disclosing data, it gets more out than it puts in.” Peter is responsible for the new open data platform for public transport in Switzerland. After all, if innovative developments with tangible benefits for our customers are also going to make Swiss public transport more attractive, then everyone stands to gain: customers, developers and the whole public transport sector.

Open data platforms as a source of innovative developments.
Since 1 December 2016, anyone interested has had the option to request all scheduled and actual arrival and departure times (target and actual data) for the entire public transport network on the new platform. The real-time information therefore also includes all details of delays, platform changes and route changes.

Open Data_2.jpg

In addition, SBB provides a variety of other relevant data on the separate SBB open data platform free of charge. This includes system data from stops, rolling stock formation, services and shops at stations, passenger footfall at stations and a list of trains on each section of line.

SBB is placing no limits on creativity when it comes to using these data for developing innovative apps or other applications for passengers. “Who knows, perhaps the supermarket self-checkout will soon be telling you whether the trains, trams and busses for your upcoming journey are on time or whether you can still grab a quick coffee,” explains data controller Christian Trachsel.

SBB is continuing to monitor which other data it can put in the public domain. However, customer details will never be published and personal data are never disclosed. Data protection is thus guaranteed at all times.

SBB closely monitors which data are made public.

When disclosing data, SBB differentiates between three different categories:

  • SBB never discloses customer details or safety-related data (closed data) to third parties as a basic principle. This takes absolute priority in the relevant corporate directives that govern the disclosure of data. Retaining customers’ trust is number one on SBB’s agenda.
  • It shares certain data for use by third parties in their own value creation in return for payment and under specific terms of use (restricted data). This involves edited and enriched (hard) data.
  • Data that have the potential to drive innovative developments in relation to attractive public transport in Switzerland are published by SBB for free. Anyone who is interested has free access to these data in machine-readable form. The following data from this category are already available on SBB’s open data platform: traffic statistics, system data from stops, rolling stock formation, services and shops at stations, passenger footfall at stations and a list of trains on each section of line.

SBB is convinced that this data strategy will enable innovative services to be developed that bring customers real benefits.

Open data platform for public transport in Switzerland:
SBB’s open data portal:
Central contact for queries relating to data:
More information about SBB’s open data strategy:
Background information on digital transformation at SBB: