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Journey planning becomes an integral part of travel

April 19th, 2018

Journey planning solutions have come a long way from pointing out shortest and cheapest routes to offering a multimodal approach to travel making it more personalized and streamlined. Journey planners now integrate traffic and travel information in addition to providing support and assistance during the journey.

Journey planning and the broader context of passenger information provision are moving forward rapidly. These solutions are travel information systems that make it easy for travelers to find and use the best means of travel available and facilitate efficiency in operations.

The increasing diffusion of information technologies offers the potential for providing better multi-modal transport information potentially available for query at any place or time. Furthermore, the opportunity to increase the number of service providers is facilitating the development of cross-modal journey planning and guidance.

The US has witnessed 60 billion passenger miles using public transit with an increased ridership of 30% journeys. The travel and transportation sector expands to include various business models such as first mile and last mile connectivity of public transport with ride-sharing providers.

Journey planning – a daily traveler’s anchor
Planning a journey constitutes a common decision faced by many travelers. The significant complexities of this type of arrangement relate to:

  • Lack of information on the schedule and the routes of the public transport services
  • Difficulty in determining possible itineraries within the dense urban and/or long distance public transport network
  • The intensive task of assessing possible alternative routes regarding multiple traveling criteria

Journey planning is often tightly interwoven with buying a ticket or being on-trip. For transport operators, it is an essential ingredient of their product, and they use the same data for traveler information as well as many other operational needs.

A high proportion of travel habits include immediate or short-term journey planning related to local or inter-region travel. Of the various trip stages understood viz., before the journey, during the journey and after the journey, short distance and immediate journeys require real-time and limited geographic coverage of travel information.

Advances in personalized information driven by technology changes mean that passenger activity management makes travel appear more seamless through dynamic travel information and multimodal trip planning services. A study indicates that multi-modal journey planning systems are becoming more and more robust with such features. However, gaps exist in varying approaches to market segmentation, data standardization and the incorporation of real-time information.

Critical aspects of a journey planner
The various elements that a journey planner application considers include – modes covered, information provided to the user and its display, geographic coverage, criteria to calculate itineraries and other content that is related to the user’s activity.

To facilitate such features, the planner uses open data formats for its input data. These data include road, cycleway and footpath networks, public transport stops, routes, and timetables. These data are produced by public authorities and by commercial operators of transport services and facilities.

The most widely accepted official standards – Transmodel, Identification of Fixed Objects in Public Transport (IFOPT), Standard Interface for Real-time Information (SIRI), Network Timetable Exchange (NeTEx) – result from a process of convergence of different ancestor standards. For instance, the core public transport dataset for EU-wide interoperability of journey planning services are shared reference data on ‘stop areas’ as defined by IFOPT. Accurate, good quality information for journey planning is a critical factor in extensive feature coverage. Also, information about vehicle and bicycle sharing stations, parking facilities, public transport fares and situational data, such as weather and pollution is included in increasing precision and coverage.

Journey planning information can be made available through different modes. These include online sources of information through smartphone or mobile devices, satellite navigation devices, subscriptions to push email notifications or text alert notifications, traditional timetables or non-electronic information boards such as stop info boards and real-time departure information screens.

Cities have become the focus of smart infrastructure projects and 64% of all travel made is within urban environments while the total distance traveled in urban areas is expected to triple by 2050. Changing travel habits, demand for increased mobility, convenience, and predictability of options are becoming an integral part of urban living. As a result, journey planning applications will become an essential part of intelligent transport applications that serve the modern traveler demands and also operationalize the efficiency in a smart city environment.

References

  1. APTA – Ridership Report
  2. Research Gate – A Multi-Modal International Journey Planning System: A Case Study Of Wisetrip
  3. Revistas – Use and Influence of Social Media on Trip Planning: a quantitative study
  4. Research Gate – Personalized Fully Multimodal Journey Planner
  5. UITP – The Future of Urban Mobility

Author: Rachana Chauhan, Business Analysts, Digital Transformation Services

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