The Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) is a rail sector specification enabling interoperable ticket sales for trains and other modes of transport, and is defined in the new UIC International Railway Solution (IRS) 90918-10.
The aims of OSDM are twofold: first, to substantially simplify and improve the booking process for customers of public transport trips and, secondly, to lower complexity and distribution costs for distributors and carriers.
OSDM is jointly developed by the members of UIC, and Ticket Vendors with the members of EU Travel Tech and the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association.
Development of the OSDM Demo App
UIC member SBB (Swiss Railways), has built an application using the OSDM API to show simulations of routes and services within the system and the capabilities of real time railway ticket distribution.
The application is connected to the OSDM sandbox environment developed by Sqills, which is powered by the Sqills S3 Passenger inventory, reservation and ticketing SaaS. The sandbox is a working prototype which enables the study of the behaviour and semantics of the OSDM API and is open to any party interested in implementing OSDM.
Within this context, SBB presented one of its developers with the challenge of developing an application within seven days. Hoang Tran, a front-end developer at SBB’s App Bakery, took on the challenge – and without any prior knowledge about online distribution – started to work on the app.
The results is impressive; the app covers the complete booking flow, including the reservation of seats and ancillary services, and supports trains, buses or other means of public transport.
Interestingly, the app is developed without any backend, thus directly using the API. Last but not least, the app is multi-platform and runs natively on Android, iOS or the web (thanks to Flutter).
Andreas Schlapbach, SBB Architect & Tech Lead OSDM, said:
“While we were quite confident that our API was consistent and feature rich, we were unsure how intuitive or difficult the API is to consume, especially for somebody not related to the field of online distribution. The app developed by Hoang in such a short timeframe is astonishing and shows that results can be achieved and that the API can easily be consumed by any party. It also shows that the API is well-documented, consistent and ready for use.”
Vittorio Carta, DB Transport Policy Europe Manager and OSDM Chair said:
“Again, a great demonstration that OSDM is the right and smart choice to improve seamless ticketing and distribution for passengers, and another great effort performed by the technical team!”
To enable other parties to start their distribution frontends, SBB will make the app publicly available on GitHub within the next few weeks.
Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, said:
“This first new UIC protocol implementation by SBB, and their creation of an OSDM customer App, demonstrates the usefulness of OSDM for a railway undertaking in the heart of Europe and using latest digital technologies. UIC congratulates SBB and especially Hoang Tran on this achievement and fully supports this sector initiative with the aim of improving international passenger travel.”
This development follows the release in July of a factsheet and a short video explaining the implementation of the OSDM specification, as well as the benefits and purpose of this sector initiative. A longer version of the video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/TVxQdq8nMAI
Visit the UIC website https://uic.org/projects/osdm
Visit the GitHub for more details on the specification: https://unioninternationalcheminsdefer.github.io/OSDM/