What’s Next for MDS? Previewing Upcoming Versions

August 11, 2021

For the past few months, the Open Mobility Foundation has been hard at work leading development of the latest release of the Mobility Data Specification (MDS), planning for improvements in version 1.2 and bigger updates on the horizon for the next major release. Learn more about what the OMF, our members, and community of contributors has been up to lately.


Recently, OMF’s MDS Working Group Steering Committees met for the “consensus” checkpoint for version 1.2 – the time in the development cycle for working group leadership to discuss and decide what features are ready, which are not, if extra time is needed, and to confirm a targeted release candidate date. During these conversations, each proposed feature gets reviewed from several different angles by OMF members from across the public and private sectors and evaluated based on utility, consensus, work remaining, and other key factors.

MDS 1.2 is planned as a minor version, which means that all changes will be non-breaking. But, there are some exciting new features on deck to check out. A few specific ones are:

City Requirements

  • New API for a public agency to describe a city’s MDS program requirements digitally
  • Learn more on GitHub in issue #608, and see the draft in action on this feature branch

Rich Telemetry Data

  • Brings richer geo location data options into trips and status changes
  • Learn more on GitHub in issues #589 and #616, and pull request #653


  • Move the “vehicles” feature, which returns the current status of vehicles on the public right-of-way, out of Beta, adding more options for agencies using this for regulation instead of GBFS


  • Additions that support more digitization of city permit policy requirements, like fees by duration and more rate options

Next, the MDS Working Group will finalize work before moving into the “approval” phase of development, meaning that the release candidate will go through any additional review required by OMF’s committees, and finally be presented for a vote by the OMF’s Tech Council and Board of Directors. MDS Version 1.2 is slated to be released by early October. Keep an eye out for more updates and a review of all the features in this latest version of MDS.


Discussion around what’s next for MDS is already underway. The major version 2.0 will begin development later this month, and will include changes around two key areas: policy refinements, and the support of new modes.

Policy Updates
Multiple additions to the Policy API have been proposed, with the goal of expanding its usefulness and further digitizing city permits in a way that could streamline communication between public agencies and mobility operators.

New Modes
MDS was built to adapt, accommodating evolving needs around managing emerging mobility. Recently, there has been discussion about the architecture of adding new modes to MDS, and how to build the specification for use with personal delivery devices (delivery robots), free-floating car share, taxis, and more. We will adjust MDS to allow the addition and tailored management of these and future modes.

If you’re interested in following these topics – and the evolution of MDS more broadly – sign up for the MDS announcements mailing list, where you can stay informed about working group meetings, new releases, and all things MDS.

Want to participate as a member or individual contributor? Learn more about how to get involved or drop us a line.

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