The smart folks at ProgrammableWeb published an excellent primer detailing why and how smart cities are opening up public transport data so developers can create useful tools that enhance city living. As author Mark Boyd explains, "Public transport is often a good starting point for cities looking to open up useful data sources as part of a smart cities agenda."
Even if you don't talk APIs in everyday conversation, the article is a useful primer for city leaders, transportation officials and others seeking a better understanding of what is involved in opening up transportation data, different approaches and viewpoints, types of data included, etc.
For those just getting started, Boyd suggests reviewing some of the successful models for managing public transport data and points to TriMet in Portland, Oregon and New York City's MTA, among others.
And for what it's worth: In computer programming, API stands for application programming interface – basically a set of tools and protocols for developing software apps. The API specifies how software components should interact.
More on opening transportation data…
Microsoft case study: London Transport Manages 2.3 Million Website Hits a Day with New Data Feed
Center for Technology in Government white paper: The Dynamics of Opening Government Data