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.
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
Released: November 2021
- 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
OTHER RECENT VERSIONS
Released: March 2021
- City Metrics: Introduces a standard way to describe available metrics and serve as a mechanism for consistently aggregating data
- Provider Reports: Streamlines the process around existing aggregate reporting requirements for special groups, making it more efficient and consistent for providers
- Public Endpoints: Allows transparency for the public to see how a given city is regulating, holds the city accountable for their policy decisions, allows third parties to ingest this valuable information into their applications and services
- Privacy Features: A new option called Geography Driven Events allows you to obtain operating information without knowing vehicle location
- Jurisdictions: Allows coordination of jurisdictions by multiple neighboring agencies for each mode
Released: September 2020
- Alignment of Provider & Agency: Reconciles the historic naming differences between event terms within Provider and Agency, providing more vehicle states and allowing for easier implementation
- Policy Rates: Improves MDS for use around fees and subsidies, allowing cities to enact complex policies to achieve their goals
- Stops: Supports docked bikeshare and e-scooter programs, allowing cities to designate docks, parking areas, stations, and corrals across MDS
Released: May 2020
- Vehicles: A new endpoint that shows the status of all vehicles in the right of way, as a regulatory alternative to GBFS
- OMF Ownership: Addition of documentation, version support, and guidelines for understanding and using MDS. Updates to licensing, release guides, and development process
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 0.4.0 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.