STAYING CURRENT WITH MDS
Whether you’re currently using the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) or looking to get started, staying up-to-date with the most current versions has multiple benefits, including more accurate data, access to improved features and support, and a more effective data standard overall. As the governing body for MDS, the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF) is here to keep the community informed of version guidance, upgrade schedules, and other information that promotes a well-functioning ecosystem for MDS.
WHEN TO UPGRADE
MDS is a dynamic standard, designed to evolve through the contributions of our community. The OMF strongly recommends adopting the latest release of MDS into production within six months for major releases, and four months for minor releases. To help with upgrading, new version candidates are made available prior to release, allowing time for implementation and initial testing to begin.
- Version 2.0.0 is the most recent and preferred version of MDS, released in May of 2023.
Learn more about how to get involved.
BENEFITS OF UPGRADING
Recommended versions of MDS are supported and maintained by the OMF and our community for two years – we provide updated guidance and documentation, track issues, and provide bug fixes and critical updates in the form of hotfixes for these versions. Plus, our network of members and contributors serves as a community of support for organizations using MDS, including those who need support implementing new versions.
Learn more below about the features that make newer versions of MDS unique.
CURRENT RECOMMENDED VERSION
- Flexible Data Formats for New Modes: Flexible data formats allow for easier adoption and use across different regions and use cases. The new version is capable of supporting a wider array of mobility use cases, such as passenger services (taxis and ridehail), car share, and delivery robots.
- Policy Improvements: The Policy API – which allows cities to set and digitally share rules for how and where different shared services can operate and other high-level policy initiatives – is now expanded and refined to meet common use cases. These updates make it easier to understand and implement.
- Agency/Provider Alignment: These two primary APIs that make up MDS allow cities and providers to communicate in different ways. Now, both share the same data types, endpoints, and fields. Agency pushes data to cities, while Provider pulls data from operators. Aligning the data structures in these APIs streamlines the specification and eases implementation.
OTHER RECENT VERSIONS
Released: November 2021 (deprecated)
- Requirements: Streamlines communication between agencies and providers by allowing cities to publicly express their data requirements in a standardized, digital form and tailor the data they get to their specific use cases
- Policy Updates: Improves the Policy API, especially rates, a feature that allows cities to digitally express fees and other charges for operators
- Telemetry Details: Provides more complete information about the accuracy of GPS points
- Vehicles: Makes clarifications and refinements to the Vehicles endpoint – which returns the current status of vehicles on the public right-of-way – moving this feature out of beta
USING OLDER VERSIONS OF mDS
Releases that are no longer recommended by the OMF should be phased out of use. Similar to other open source data standards, the OMF does not recommend using versions of MDS that are older than two years, and thus consider them deprecated. Deprecated versions of MDS include 1.1.0 and older.
Using deprecated versions of MDS can lead to issues around data accuracy, add barriers to the widespread adoption and use of data standards, and contribute to challenges around compliance with requirements and regulations. Plus, relying on deprecated versions of MDS raises technical costs and complexity for the organizations you work with, who frequently must support multiple versions.
The OMF has developed guidance for cities writing MDS into their operating policy, and includes sample policy language. This is designed to help cities and their partners stay on the same page when it comes to MDS versions and general use.