MDS vs GBFS: impact and limitations

The way the data is reflected from the source will impact our understanding

The way the data data is shared with Vianova could have a big impact on the features. We can find 3 types of limiting factors :

  • hardware limitations: data limited or not recorded physically
  • presentation limitations : data being truncated or limited by the API format
  • provider limitations: data being filtered / removed by the provider itself

In the list below you will find a summary on how GBFS or MDS could affect various results in our different pages.

Control: detailed device status and events (maintenance, low battery, etc …)NO 🔴YES
Activity: vehicle availabilityNO (always 100%)*🔴YES
Activity: most used corridorsNO (only parked devices)🔴YES
Activity: accurate trip distanceNO (crow fly only)🔴YES (if full telemetry)✅
Activity: trip count accuracyNO (20% error rate)🔴YES
Activity: historical dataNO (only starting at ingestion date)🔴YES


MDS vs GBFS, what is the right choice

Our recommandation will be to use MDS over GBFS because it has much more details on the vehicle status and transition, trip informations and vehicle position.

Major difference : vehicle status and transition

The Cityscope platform's Control Page provides precise information about vehicles status on the public right of way, especially their Last Event and Current Status. These event types and current statuses are derived from MDS.

Last Event

Last Event provides information about the most recent condition the device was in. The record of Last Events provides a story about how a device has been used in the past, and is a window on mobility in the city. There are more than 25 different event types (you can see them all here), but we provide information about the most important ones for managing shared mobility. Some event types we display are rarely used, for example- since most "Pick-Ups" end in "Drop-Offs", you will not typically see a "Pick-Up" status as the Last Event as it is only halfway through the activity.

These fields are used in slightly different ways by different operators, and different versions of MDS have incorporated slightly different event types. Events are only available for those operators who provide MDS to Vianova, so not every provider will have events (if an operator doesn't have events, their last event will show as "unknown").

Last EventWhat Does it Mean?
Agency Pick-UpA city has picked up an improperly parked device
Agency Drop-OffA city has dropped off a device to an acceptable parking location
Rebalance Pick-UpAn operator has picked up a device to reposition to another location
Rebalance Drop-OffAn Operator has moved a device into a new location
Maintenance Drop-OffAn operator has brought a device in for maintenance
MaintenanceA device is taken out of service while awaiting repairs, or is actively being repaired
Low BatteryThe battery of a device is too low to allow for rental
Service StartAnother version of Maintenance
Service EndAnother version of Maintenance
User Pick UpA user has initiated a trip. Because Cityscope does not collect data during a trip, no additional data will be available on the location of the device until the trip ends.
User Drop OffA user has ended a trip and the device is still rentable to the next user
UnknownSome operators do not use every status, and may display "unknown" events

Current Status

Current Statuses are derived from Last Events. Logically, the last event will dictate the status of a device at this moment. There are three statuses available for a device:

StatusWhat Does it Mean?
AvailableDevice is available for rental
ReservedDevice is being held for a user, or device is actively on a trip
UnavailableDevice is on the street, but not available for rental.

For those devices where MDS is not available, and we are relying on GBFS data (which represents about 5% of the trips taken across all of our cities), only available devices will show, and all devices shown will be available. If a GBFS device is actively being used, or is out of service, it will not register on Cityscope, and it will only re-appear after it is made available once more.