Open Sales and Distribution Model

Download Specification


The aims of the Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) are twofold:

  1. to substantially simplify and improve the booking process for customers of public transport trips and,
  2. to lower complexity and distribution costs for retailers, distributor and carriers.

The OSDM strengthens rail and public transport 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: Retailer Mode and Distributor Mode. The Distributor Mode differs from the Retailer Mode only in that additionally to Admissions (aka. tickets), Reservations, or Ancillaries also Fares (a.k.a priced segments) are offered and can be booked.

The OSDM API and documents are Open Source and freely available to all parties interested. The OSDM-Online API is modelled in YAML, fully supporting the REST paradigm.


The OSDM Model is split between roles participants can take:

  • Fare Provider – defining the fare and combination rules and providing them to distributors offline or online.
  • Distributor – 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.
  • Retailer – selling tickets from one or more distributors to the customer. Selecting the distributors and joining multiple independent bookings.

A railway/public transport company or a system provider can support more than one role.

Design Goals

The design of the OSDM-Online API focuses on three main goals:

  1. To provide a convenient way for a customer to book an international train service, including refund and exchange processes.
  2. To provide a specification that can be supported by existing or upcoming systems without major investments.
  3. 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, Turnit, Trainline, Travelport and others. Furthermore, the Hermes ecosystem for reservations as well as existing UIC leaflets were carefully examined and taken into account.

Proofing that the specification is not bound to rail, Bileto is successfully using the standard for the distribution of bus rides.

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 all 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 Retailer to Distributor to Fare Provider (aka. carrier) and aligned the interfaces by modelling them the same. Thus calling a provider, an distributor or a fare provider is exactly the same from an API perspective. The only difference is that in distributor mode you get fare specific information.

Latest Posts

OSDM Version 3.2 Released

We are proud to release Version 3.2 of the OSDM Specification. In scope of this increment are various improvements proposed by the different parties as well as two new publicly available OSDM sandboxes.

OSDM Version 3.0.3 and OSDM Version 3.1 Released

We are happy to release Version 3.0.3 and Version 3.1.0 of the OSDM Specification. This is a maintenance release for version 3.0 which also adds some features requested by the Swedish market in non-breaking way adhering to semantic versioning and a new non-breaking version 3.1.

OSDM Version 3.0.2 Released

We are happy to release Version 3.0.2 of the OSDM Specification. This is a maintenance release which also adds some features requested by the Swedish market in non-breaking way adhering to semantic versioning.