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GBFS vs. MDS: In-depth Insights on Mobility Data Standards

By 14/05/2024No Comments
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The Mobility Data Specification (MDS) and the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) are foundational data standards that significantly shape the shared mobility landscape. Managed by separate entities—MDS by the Open Mobility Foundation and GBFS by MobilityData—these frameworks are designed to meet diverse requirements in the realm of urban mobility.

GBFS and MDS Data Sharing Requirements

Data sharing requirements serve as crucial guidelines governing the handling of data among various stakeholders in shared mobility systems, ensuring the collection, storage, sharing, and utilization of data respects privacy, compliance, and effective communication. MDS and GBFS serve different but complementary purposes in this framework. MDS provides a structured format for regulatory data exchange between cities and mobility service providers, focusing on operational data, compliance, and city planning needs. Conversely, GBFS makes real-time operational data about bike-share systems available to the public, enhancing user accessibility and trip planning.

Exploring MDS

MDS, governed by the OMF, is a comprehensive data framework designed to facilitate interactions between cities and shared mobility operators. It provides tools for cities to manage and regulate shared mobility services effectively, encompassing APIs that cover everything from vehicle and trip data to regulatory compliance.

Understanding GBFS

GBFS, managed by MobilityData, focuses on providing real-time data for public use, particularly in bike-sharing systems. It offers essential information on bike availability and station locations, promoting transparency and accessibility for end-users, thereby enhancing user engagement with bike-sharing services.


  • Purpose and Scope: Cities use MDS for regulatory purposes to manage a broad spectrum of shared mobility services, whereas GBFS aims to provide the public with information about bike-share availability.
  • Data Richness: MDS offers extensive data capabilities including real-time and historical data, which are crucial for city planning and regulation. GBFS focuses on real-time data beneficial for immediate user needs.
  • API Structure: MDS features multiple APIs catering to different aspects of city management and mobility service operations. GBFS uses a straightforward, single-feed API that facilitates ease of use for consumers and developers alike.

Integrating MDS and GBFS with SWITCH’s Solutions

At SWITCH, our commitment to enhancing urban mobility extends to supporting various data standards based on our clients’ unique needs. Our platforms, Urbiverse and Urban CoPilot, handle both the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) and the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS), providing flexible and comprehensive data integration capabilities.

Whether a city or mobility provider needs to align with MDS for in-depth regulatory compliance and service management, or utilize GBFS to improve public accessibility and engagement with real-time data, SWITCH offers tailored solutions. Our platforms ensure seamless data integration, facilitating effective urban planning and optimized fleet management. This adaptability allows our clients to not only meet regulatory requirements and enhance operational efficiency but also to deliver superior service to users, bolstering the sustainability and effectiveness of their mobility initiatives.

Through strategic use of Urbiverse and Urban CoPilot, SWITCH empowers cities and mobility operators to harness the full potential of these standards, driving forward the future of smart urban mobility.


Choosing between MDS and GBFS depends on the specific needs of the stakeholders—cities may prefer MDS for its comprehensive regulatory tools, while service providers and users benefit from the straightforward, real-time data of GBFS. Both standards play critical roles in the ecosystem of shared mobility, and their continued development by OMF and MobilityData respectively highlights the dynamic nature of urban transportation solutions​ (Open Mobility Foundation | OMF)​.

Further information

For those interested in further details about each standard and their applications, resources are available through the respective websites of the Open Mobility Foundation and MobilityData, providing comprehensive guidelines and updates on the latest developments.