The aims of the Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) are twofold:
- to substantially simplify the booking process for customers of rail trips and,
- to lower complexity and distribution costs for distributors and railway carriers.
OSDM strengthens rail as a convenient and ecological means of transportation by simplifying distribution. Finally, it lays a solid fundament which can be extended to the distribution of other means of transportation.
The OSDM Online API and specification essentially consists of two parts: Offline Model and Online API. The Online API works in two modes: Distributor Mode and Allocator Mode. The Allocator Mode differs from the Distributor Mode only in that additionally to Admissions (aka. tickets), Reservations, Integrated reservations, or Ancillaries also Fares (priced segments) are offered and can be booked.
The OSDM Model and documents are Open Source and freely available to all
parties interested. The OSDM-Online API is modelled in
YAML, fully supporting the
The Open Sales and Distribution Model has emerged from the new Tariff Model (nTM) and Full Service Model (FSM 2.0) initiatives:
The initiative new Tariff Model (nTM) initiated by UIC established the successor standard of PRIFIS. It defines on the one hand an offline standard for the exchange of priced segments (formerly: PRIFIS series) and on the other hand a new online standard for the purchase of dynamically priced segments. The priced segments are calculated and provided by so-called fare providers. The priced segments are fetched by an allocator which combines these priced segments into a consistent offer and later into a booking and ticket. Essentially, this process allows the vision of “one trip - one ticket within Europe” to materialize.
The Full Service Model (FSM 2.0) initiative defines an open standard for the distribution of rail services (bookings, reservations, integrated reservations and additional services) within Europe and beyond. By standardizing the distribution interface, the distribution of products and services can be greatly simplified.
The OSDM Model is split between roles participants can take:
- Fare Provider – defining the fare and combination rules and providing them to allocators offline or online.
- Allocator – combining fares, defining after sales rules within the frames set by the fare provider, providing combined offers and managing the booking transaction, managing the ticket security (barcode, control processes), managing compensations processes, managing the stock control process.
- Distributor – selling tickets from one or more allocators to the customer. Selecting the allocators and joining multiple independent bookings.
A railway or a system provider can support more than one role.
The design of the OSDM-Online API focuses on three main goals:
- To provide a convenient way for a customer to book an international train service, including refund and exchange processes.
- To provide a specification that can be supported by existing or upcoming systems without major investments.
- To reduce unnecessary message conversions between callers as they provide no business value.
To address the first goal we started with the customer experience and worked backwards to define the sales and distributions processes supported by OSDM. This resulted in a booking process modelled by the following steps:
- Searching for trips
- Getting offers
- Booking an offer
- Confirmation of the booking
- Fulfillment of the booking
Analogously, the after-sale process is modelled in the following steps:
- Getting a refund/exchange offers
- Booking a refund/exchange offer
- Fulfillment of the booking
To address the second goal, we studied the existing commercial products and online distribution/carrier systems of BENE, CD, DB, DSB, öBB, PKP IC, RENFE, Rail Delivery Group, SBB, SJ, SNCF, Trenitalia and other UIC Railways as well as distribution solutions provided by Amadeus, Sabre, Silverrail, Sqills, Trainline, Travelport and others. Furthermore, the Hermes ecosystem for reservations as well as existing UIC leaflets were carefully examined and taken into account.
Advisors from CER, CIT, ECTAA, EU Traveltech and sounding boards from the European Commission as well as the European Rail Agency were involved from the start and guided the effort.
By involving the experts of the parties, we are confident that the OSDM Model is powerful enough to support the distribution of existing or upcoming commercial products and can be implemented and supported at reasonable cost.
To address the third goal we took an end-to-end approach to the call chain from Distributor to Allocator to Fare Provider (aka. carrier) and aligned the interfaces by modelling them the same. Thus calling a provider, an allocator or a fare provider is exactly the same from an API perspective. The only difference is that in allocator mode you get fare specific information.
Access to the Specification
All documents are publicly available in the Specification section.