Overall economic development and growth are strongly connected to mobility. The improvement of mobility by mobility services will help to make transport more efficient and reduce the use of resources (e.g. time, fuel). Particularly in big cities and high-density areas, congestion in road transport and capacity overuse in public transport during peak hours are limiting factors for social and individual welfare.
ISCOM consisted in the development and demonstration of multimodal and intermodal transport information and services to raise quality of life in the daily experience and in mobility. Emphasis was made on overcoming cross-border limitations in intermodal transport, reducing congestion, environmental pollution, energy consumption and accidents in road traffic.
The main objectives of ISCOM were:
- Promotion of intermodal and trans-regional mobility
- Promotion of electronic media for mobility information
- Support of mobility centres and their services
- Support of persons with reduced mobility
- Improvement of transport efficiency.
In this framework, ISCOM's aim was to provide a value-added service on digital communication networks with a broad range of services for transport actors and travellers.
At the outset, the core element of the project consisted in the development, demonstration and validation of electronic timetable information and of corresponding intermodal information as well as in the set-up of mobility services.
These services were deployed over different sites selected for their particular problems ISCOM could help overcome: regions with a cross-border aspect and European capitals with a public transport difficulties. The sites involved cover the region South-Alsace (France) and the Regio Tri-Rhena around Canton of Basle (Switzerland), the City of Mulhouse (France) and the area around Freiburg (Germany), the region of Baden-Württemberg as well as the metropolitan areas of Rome and Vienna.
These areas had partially operated mobility centres that offer a great variety of mobility services, accessible either by end users directly as a basic service, or by operators of mobility centres. Over these platforms, ISCOM fully complied with the trend to establish generic service platforms that are independent of the underlying heterogeneous infrastructure.
Lastly, ISCOM provided the opportunity to test novel mobile services in the transport sector and the application of different media to provide information and services to users (Internet, terminals, phone, flexible signs, DAB, SMS, WAP).
The ISOCOM project's development consisted in 6 phases, starting from User requirements, to Implementation planning.
1. User groups and requirements
In order to achieve a complete electronic timetable information for metropolitan and for regional areas with cross-border traffic, the project's first logical step was to identify user groups and requirements. Done by a survey among public transport users and a survey of public transport organisations in the form of Internet questionnaires and direct surveys, the object was to define the criteria for generating a database with the necessary completeness.
2. Database specification and development
The database embodies public transport information and information from the different tariff associations, information on transitions, information of pick-a-bag possibilities for bicycles in public transport, information about pedestrian trails, etc. The databases were compiled from public transport networks of the participating organisations, administrations of cities and regions and the various bodies and institutions involved in public transport operation. The database was structured in such a manner so as to enable the systems to propose public transport connections and routing just by entering addresses into the system if the nearest public transport stop is not known.
3. ISCOM system architecture
This phase dealt with specification, with respect to output data structure, application modules, Internet access and operator access as well as respective indirect database links for updating and modifying it. The ISCOM System Architecture is the reference for all developments realised within the project. The architecture development is based on CONVERGE project's Guidelines for the Development and Assessment of Intelligent Transport System Architectures.
The design of an operational system architecture privided for the implementation of implementation of main basic services like general timetable information, cross-border connections and data exchange. These were connected to an intermodal information system.
4. Mobility centre set-up and traffic management extension
This phase included the description of existing mobility services on each site, the access to these services and their technical implementation. The Traffic Management Centre was enlarged by requirements for congestion management and information exchange. This included all relevant sources on incidents (e.g. important fairs, sport
The ISCOM Project contributed to mobility management in the EU by the development and demonstration of multimodal and intermodal transport information and services to overcome cross-border limitations in passenger transport, reducing congestion, environmental pollution, energy consumption and accidents in road traffic.
In this framework, the project provided 5 main results:
1. Enhancement of an Intermodal information system (the EFA system)
Development, adaptation and implementation of the intermodal information system, i.e. the development or adaptation of electronic timetable information and enhancements of EFA/DIVA//Flexy.
2. Enlargement of traffic management functions - Development and implementation of congestion management modules.
The existing traffic management centre in Stuttgart has been enlarged by a system for congestion management and information, especially in case of big foreseeable events (e.g. big sports events, fairs etc). All relevant information are combined and processed here, and finally, these information or recommendations are provided to other authorities (i.e. City of Stuttgart – environmental protection office, local police) and, of course, to the end users.
3. Extension of mobility centre services - Development and implementation of car-pooling software.
Extension of the already existing mobility centre Stuttgart by the car-pooling information and booking service.
4. Testing of novel mobile services and media in the transport sector.
On the technological level, novel data fusion techniques to deal with inhomogeneous timetable information from various sources have been developed. The project has complied with the trend to establish generic service platforms that are independent of the underlying heterogeneous infrastructure. Moreover, ISCOM has provided the opportunity to test novel mobile services in the transport sector and the application of different media to provide information and services to users (Internet, terminals, fixed and mobile phones, DAB, SMS and WAP messaging protocols).
5. Evaluation, and regular operation.
The evaluation examined the user acceptance and the traffic impacts due to behaviour changes. Direct user benefits as well as traffic impacts were surveyed and assessed. Beyond the scope of the project, ISCOM has paved the way for future location-dependant transport services including access to the whole Internet world, prepaid services, direct ticket billing
The project hinged on the development of the EFA system (electronic timetable information system). This system was enhanced with:
- Intermodal information (P+R, door-to-door, bike&ride, park&ride)
- Cross-border information to provide the data from Alsace and Switzerland in Baden-Wuerttemberg, and from Baden-Württemberg in Alsace
- Specific information for mobility-impaired persons.
These features implied:
- The database enlargement or update as a trans-national database with integration of GIS data available from Germany, Switzerland, France/Alsace and of intermodal information being available in three languages (German, French and English).
- The development of new platforms for an intermodal information system as done in Alsace (development platform for user interface and operational platform providing ISCOM services) and Rome.
- The development of new software tools for mapping addresses into coordinates, geographic referencing of public transport and private vehicle traffic data with regard to disabled transport in Rome and Vienna.
- The development of ISCOM interfaces for data exchange (data exchange formats, creation of data import programs and exchange of GIS data).
- The development of mobile access via SMS and WAP on GSM.
- The development of applications based on PDA information downloading of relevant travel information.
- The development of specific information associated to Points-of-Interest (photos of representative sites, airport information, etc).
The scope of ISCOM was to develop and to improve intermodal and multi-modal passenger information systems and services. This has been realized successfully and partly already put in full operation (EFA systems, car-pooling). Benefits on individual as well as on the transportation level have been proven. Ongoing activities of the project partners will push market penetration e.g. in the cross-border area or possibly in France. Some software products and services will be enlarged in the follower project TRASCOM, e.g. by localisation and customising features.
The project has been very successful in view of the EU objectives to support:
- transport management,
- intermodal transport.
- user-friendly interfaces
- effectiveness through adaptation of existing electronic timetable software...
...as well as the users and the partners’ business strategies.
The demonstration phase and subsequent evaluation showed:
- All ISCOM systems have a high user acceptance.
- Local citizens positively assessed all ISCOM systems.
- Behaviour changes caused by ISCOM systems were identified.
- Most of the systems and services will be in operation and improved after the ISCOM lifecycle.
- Interests for cross-border information systems were identified.
In the long run, there are activities to embed the systems developed into a platform for passenger traffic, covering also long-distance transport.