TOPOS - Open Science observatory for transport research

Commute in a (smart) data driven city

We live in the era of interconnected devices, availability of open data and future promises of interconnected vehicles that interact with their environment. Going one more step forward, we would live in a smart city where we could redefine the public transportation of the future, the information and quality of data we provide and receive during a commute experience. In parallel, smart vehicles will also move in the city as data providers and data consumers. Therefore, it is important to create a common understanding realising the use of Open Science in the transport domain and providing answers to key categories of actors. 

A report by the UN on cities in 2030, states that by 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 percent of people globally and one in every three people will live in cities with at least half a million inhabitants.  Additionally, the global smart city market size is expected to grow from an estimated $410.8B in 2020 to over $820B in 2025. Well-known companies like NOKIA, already work on future plans for Smart Cities. So projections clearly show that the majority will live in a smart, rich of data city in the future.

A future (?) everyday scenario

Imagine you live in a smart city where there is no delay, no waiting time, no waiting lines to issue a ticket, real-time information for your commute, and personal data security. At your  destination, the weather is rainy and you receive a notification on your mobile phone to return home by following a specific route. It seems that sensors on this path alert a central system that your personalized solution is better planned this way. The 5G network on your phone, will alert you again, in real-time, if something occurs and will re-evaluate your journey by showing you the way through less traffic and maximum safety. A whole city and advanced traffic management system will operate based on the city transportation and accompanying data.

Why transport data?

These new experiences within smart cities and technologies are not only important for architecture, urban planning, public authorities, but also for architectures of information technology collections, analysis and integration. Why? In a future where vehicles, smart buildings, sensors, people, co-exist and produce large volumes of data, we need to have transparency and trust around that data. Any Artificial Intelligence algorithm and optimization technique to improve the quality of services of transport data, and accompanied services (weather forecast, local events, etc.) would demand training on open accessible data. Furthermore, as municipalities initiate in many cases, data should be public and open, accessible to all. 

As a consequence, it is extremely important to study and promote open data and research on multiple transport modes (i.e., road, rail, water, air) and set the basis for analysing the existing Open Science services and research data infrastructures (with special focus on the EOSC). The data shall be interoperable and the services produced, integration ready.

A report published by Deloitte on assessing the value of Transport for London (TfL) open data and digital partnerships is a good read. The report explains the process of publishing open data on transport and the continuous benefits delivered to commuters, businesses and back to Tfl.

The value of BE OPEN

BE OPEN opens up a new path to transport domain researchers and experts towards open science practices, infrastructures and guidelines. More specific, the objectives of BE OPEN are to:
  • Develop a framework to establish a common understanding of operationalizing Open Science in Transport
  • Map existing Open Science resources and see how transport research fits in. Create a solid knowledge base on the implementation of Open Science approaches in transport research and exploit opportunities, synergies and integration with existing e-Infrastructures and emerging EOSC.
  • Facilitate an evidence-based dialogue to promote and establish Open Science in transport
  • Provide the policy framework and guidance for open science implementation in transport
  • Engage a broad range of stakeholders in a participatory process for Open Science uptake

The role of OpenAIRE

OpenAIRE as a core EOSC infrastructure that serves Open Science, offers to BE OPEN :

  • Knowledge on Open Science policies and technologies;

  • The CONNECT Research Community Dashboard, used to deliver the TOPOS Observatory for Organisations: an Open Research Gateway on Transport Research offering a suite of Open Science tools for different types of organisations, such as research communities, project consortia, research organisations and content providers. 
topos observatoryThe Open Research Gateway on Transport Research is part of the TOPOS Observatory ( created by the BE OPEN project. The TOPOS Observatory aims to showcase the status and progress of open science uptake in transport research. It focuses on promoting territorial and cross border cooperation and contributing in the optimization of open science in transport research.

The TOPOS Observatory for organisations is available at:

The gateway is a single-entry point to all research products relevant in the domain of Transport Research available in the OpenAIRE Research Graph (  The content available in the gateway is identified by a set of criteria specified by community curators, members of the BE OPEN consortium who are experts in the domain and aware of the needs of the community. The criteria include lists of relevant projects, content providers, organisations, Zenodo communities, and relevant subjects/keywords.

As of March 2021, it collects information on 120K publications, 1K research data, 30 software and 48K other research products. You can download their metadata also as json dumps openly available on Zenodo at

 Details on how the products have been identified among the 150M in the OpenAIRE Research Graph can be found at

For more information about the BE OPEN project please visit

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Innovation programme under Grant
Agreement No. 777541.


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