The I-TOUR project is designed to promote the use of public transport by encouraging sustainable travel choices and by providing rewarding mechanisms for users choosing public travel options.
Recent years have seen the increasing success of navigation technologies, fuelled by the booming market of personal navigation systems. Technological development together with the forthcoming availability of GALILEO services, will increase the diffusion and acceptance of transportation services based on localisation technologies. Widespread diffusion of novel 'info mobility' services promoting multi-modal transport will have a profound impact on citizen's lives across EU, in terms of:
- Safety, as 40 000+ people die on European roads each year with a cost for the European economy of approximately € 200 billion per annum.
- Efficiency, as congestion costs an estimated 1% of EU total GDP or € 100 billion per annum.
The I-TOUR project will develop an open framework to be used by different providers, authorities and citizens to provide intelligent multi-modal mobility services. I-TOUR will support and suggest (in a user-friendly way) the use of different forms of transport: bus, car, rail road, tram, etc... It takes user preferences into account as well as real-time information on road conditions, weather, public transport network condition.
The I-TOUR project promotes a user friendly reliable travel information system for optimal multi-modal passenger trips based on novel data collection techniques capable to promote and award sustainable travel choices. I-TOUR predicates an approach whereby citizens can benefit from a wide range of Location Based Services. These are based on the widespread availability low-cost portable localisation technologies, including GPS and forthcoming GALILEO services, as well as on the ubiquitous availability of wireless network connections (e.g. UMTS, Wi-Fi) at the urban and rural level. This vision is in line within the priorities set by the EU ICT for Mobility Strategic Research Agenda which advocates the use of info-mobility service, including pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip information.
As a final result the project will develop an I-TOUR service toolbox ready to be deployed by public transport providers, public administrations as well as companies to deliver intelligent user friendly mobility systems to citizens. The I-TOUR framework is based on open source technology and it includes a set of services, necessary for access, distribution and processing of real-time data related to public transport. The toolbox includes a portal providing access to applications specifically designed to provide user-friendly interactive access to citizens both in desktop and mobile scenarios. In fact I-TOUR clients will be available from a portal accessible through PCs as well as mobile devices (tablets, smart phones etc.) and will represent the interface to the I-TOUR mobility service infrastructure. The main project objective can be grouped in five macro goals:
- Development of a reliable and secure data collection approach capable to benefit both from measures of real-time conditions on public transport load and from information provided by the citizens. For this reason, a trust-based mechanism will be developed to ensure reliability of the uploaded content and accuracy of the consumed content, ensuring at the same time the highest level of privacy.
- Development of a modular infrastructure based on standard open technologies that can be adopted by public transport providers to expose harmonized transport-related services.
- Development of a personalized multi-modal transport information system capable of provision of user-tailored travel choices and capability to learn incrementally from the users' preferences.
- Development of a user-friendly travel information system, promoting sustainable travel choices based on multi-modal public transport.
- An additional goal of i-Tour will be the identification of new business models based on real-time personalized LBS (Localisation Based Services) of interest for urban travellers
To reach its objectives I-TOUR promotes a new approach to data collection based on information provided by the whole user community. I-TOUR mobility client applications will feature a very user-friendly interface accessible from PCs, PDAs and smart phones. The I-TOUR clients are designed to promote use of public transport by encouraging sustainable travel choices and by providing rewarding mechanisms for users choosing public travel options.
Sustainable travel preferences, e.g. measured in terms of CO2 emission saved by using public transport, are rewarded. For example through free public transport tickets, thus promoting and encouraging environmental friendly travel behaviour.
I-TOUR is divided in 6 work packages ('WP') comprising RTD activities. In addition one work package (WP7) is devoted to assessment, one (WP8) to dissemination and exploitation and one (WP9) to administrative and financial management (WP9). The RTD work packages are as follows:
WP1 ('Requirements And Architecture') deals with definition of the user and system requirements and the system architecture. On top of the result of WP1 the development of the I-TOUR infrastructure will take place through the 5 RTD WPs, being WP2 through WP6.
WP2 ('Provision of Relevant Data and Services Deployment'), where data made available from the different transport providers are collected within the I-TOUR infrastructure. This requires integration of existing data acquisition technologies as well as development of new ones e.g. necessary to validate the public transport network load.
WP3 ('Multi modal Transport Systems, Route Finding and Optimisation') where the routing system is developed. This will be the essential component of the whole architecture and will have to process requests from mobile clients according to the current system state and according to the specific users' profile.
WP4 ('User-Friendly Travel Information Portal') where the I-TOUR portal is developed. This includes the development of desktop and mobile clients whose user-friendly interfaces will support interaction with the travel information system according to natural forms of interaction based on use of natural language interfaces. I-TOUR client applications will be developed to promote and reward sustainable travel choices.
WP5 ('Trust, Virtual Communities, and Privacy') will ensure proper support for trust mechanisms, necessary to ensure suitable management of information coming fro
Transportation information service
Imagine a system combining all local transportation information in one place, and which also warns users and learns their preferences. An EU-funded project is making this possible and simple.
Most transportation service providers offer information about their services. However, to date, no interactive system exists that has linked all locally available public and private transportation services.
Such was the goal of the 'Intelligent transport system optimized for urban trips' (iTOUR) project. The 11-member consortium ran from February 2010 to July 2013, during which period it received EUR 3.5 million in EU funding. The project aimed to develop an open framework, to be used by providers and users, to build an adaptive transportation information service. The system would offer advice to travellers’ about routes and schedules for combined transportation modes.
In particular, the system offers alerts about schedule conflicts or opportunities. In addition, the system learns from users' preferences and usage patterns, and gradually tailors its recommendations. Over time, the combined feedback from many users will help providers improve services.
i-TOUR achieved its aims, with a prototype system ready to be deployed. As a result, the project developed several innovative technologies.
A mobile client shares local information for the community, and asks the community to validate the data; hence, the client includes rules for identity protection. In addition, the project developed a modular infrastructure to ensure effective distribution of system data. To enable adaptation to user preferences, and for efficient routing, the project worked to develop models of multi-modal transport networks using hypernetworks. Other developments included user-friendly mobility clients, and identification of business models intended to at least recover costs.
Dissemination activities included a website, LinkedIn discussion groups, a YouTube channel, conference presentations and journal submissions, plus various workshops and meetings.
One expected impact will be increasing democratisation of transport services, whereby service providers will respond to user feedback, thus giving users more control. Furthermore, the project will ultimately make public transportation safer, more efficient and more environmentally sustainable.