Wednesday 24 April 2024

The future of European rail ticketing - Sweden launches Open Sales and Distribution Model

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A new era of seamless and efficient rail travel was ushered in on 16 April with the official rollout in Sweden of the Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) sector specification. OSDM represents a significant leap forward in rail distribution and the enabling of multi-modal, multi-carrier ecosystems. OSDM, a free and open sector specification, is set to transform the way travellers navigate and book their journeys. By enabling cross-border sales with unprecedented ease, the OSDM-based booking system opens up a world of possibilities for travellers and operators alike. Its implementation is one of the key commitments by members of the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) in the CER Ticketing Roadmap.

Sweden, which has one of the most competitive and open rail markets in the European Union, has adopted OSDM as the standard for its national ticket distribution, for rail and other transport modes, both for retail and distributors. The use case in Sweden also shows that OSDM can be used in addition to other standards. From the rail perspective, OSDM represents both a vision and now a reality of rail ticketing, that is more future-proof than the current situation and will benefit both operators and passengers. Moreover, OSDM is - by design – open source, so that OSDM is available for every player in mobility. OSDM implementation is ongoing, with six European Railway Undertakings to implement it by the end of this year and many more planning to deploy in 2025.

It is crucial that the information available to both the retailer and passenger is not unduly limited by the technical and functional requirements set out in any specification. For this reason, OSDM has been developed together with ticket vendors in full transparency with the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA). It is also important to note that the technical and commercial aspects of ticket distribution should be discussed separately. Technical specifications are designed to facilitate seamless data exchange for ticket distribution, while commercial agreements handle pricing, revenue sharing, and service-level agreements. Addressing these points separately is the most efficient way to achieve seamless international rail ticketing.

CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “The CER Ticketing Roadmap has the unequivocal support of the CER Members, who are working hard to implement its commitments by 2025 in order to ensure seamless international rail ticketing. The Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) is the flagship solution of the Roadmap, which enables and enhances many of its actions such as the CIT Agreement on Journey Continuation. I call on the European Commission to reference OSDM in European legislation* as this will boost digital investments and accelerate the CER Ticketing Roadmap deployment.

UIC Director General François Davenne said: “We extend our congratulations and gratitude to the entire Samtrafiken team for this achievement. The launch of OSDM is the proof that such collaborative solutions, created by the sector - which means tailored to the business and customer needs, are designed to be multimodal and open for all players in passenger mobility. This approach represents a significant response to the global challenges of sustainable mobility and modal shift at worldwide level”.

Samtrafiken Managing Director Gerhard Wennerström said: “I’m proud that Sweden is a forerunner in the roll out of the OSDM standard. We at Samtrafiken have created a National Distribution System that enables several carriers’ Inventory Management Systems to distribute their offering in a standardised way. All based on the OSDM 3.0 API standard.

OSDM initiative manager Vittorio Carta said: “I can only thank Samtrafiken, Gerhard and his team for having played an excellent pioneer role with the countrywide implementation in Sweden, which confirms OSDM is the right technical solution for an open, not discriminatory, multimodal and business oriented online distribution. And all this already today.

More information on the CER Ticketing Roadmap can be found here.
*The EU-level Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI) on Telematic Applications is currently under revision.

About CER
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) brings together around 70 railway undertakings, their national associations as well as infrastructure managers and vehicle leasing companies. The membership is made up of long-established bodies, new entrants and both private and public enterprises, representing 78% of the rail network length, 81% of the rail freight business and about 94% of rail passenger operations in EU, EFTA and EU accession countries. CER represents the interests of its members towards EU policymakers and transport stakeholders, advocating rail as the backbone of a competitive and sustainable transport system in Europe. For more information, visit or follow us on X @CER_railways or LinkedIn.

About Samtrafiken
Samtrafiken is a collaboration and development company operating in the public transport industry. By connecting public transport authorities as well as public and private transport operators in Sweden, we create added value for the entire public transport industry. With our services, we make it easy to search, buy and travel by public transport in Sweden. For over 30 years, we have enbabled multi modal and multi carrier ticketing. Our Vision is to make Sweden a leading country within sustainable travel. We are owned by all regional public transport authorities as well as many of the commercial travel operators running a national service.

About OSDM

  • … is an Industry Initiative launched in 2013 aiming at developing an Open IT Specification
  • … enables B2B data exchange along the offline (via the UIC DTRF) and online/dynamic pricing distribution value chain (with the offline tariffs data exchange being only an intermediary solution as currents market needs are only fully covered by dynamic pricing).
  • … relies on and goes upon European regulation regarding distribution and ticketing (e.g. TAP-TSI)
  • complements costly individual bilateral IT-solutions between distributors and rail service providers
  • … follows a step-wise approach, i.e. it focuses on rail products in the beginning so as to manage complexity
  • … considers at the same time the context of multi-modality.
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