While the end user ('passenger') perceives the transport network as infinite and seamless, neither the supply of physical transport services nor the provision of travel information services is in reality close to being so. For this reason the passenger is obliged to an intermodal chain of transport information, as per the physical movement itself.
The ITS industry supporting, or supposed to support, the intermodal transport, on the other hand, is quite segmented, as per geographic boundaries, transport mode (i.e. private vs. public), distribution of content, as well as communication means. Personal end user profiles, differences in culture/language and user interface preferences are rarely taken into consideration. Clearly, there is a need for intelligent and personalised infomobility services, covering the whole travel chain, that is Europe-wide and flexible: IM@GINE IT Project exactly met this need.
Main organisational and technical obstacles today hinder seamless multi-modal services. The most important is the distribution of the necessary partial information, as:
- private traffic databases with routers are clearly separated from Public Transport (PT) information systems;
- within the private traffic mode, dynamic routing plays an important role. However, this dynamic data is generated in separate sources, close to its origin;
- also within PT, timetable information is held in several databases of regional and national coverage or related to a local or nation-wide operator;
- flight information and booking facilities are also stored in separate databases due to the growing number of low cost airlines;
- long distance bus/coach as well as ferry services are not available in an overall database in the internet like trains and flights by now;
- pedestrian and bicycle routers are at least separate components.
This distributed landscape of relevant routing information probably remains existing and will become even more important with increasing availability of any kind of dynamic information. The distribution of the information sources leads to a:
- lack of integration: the high variety of different distributed data sources leads to a lack of format consistency and standards. The data sources are mostly owned and supported by different institutions, which until today focused on proprietary systems;
- different business models: there are different business models for generating the content
The main objective of IM@GINE IT was to provide one single access point through which the end user can obtain location-based, intermodal transport information (dynamic and static), mapping & routing, navigation and other related services everywhere in Europe, anytime, taking into account personal preferences. Thus, the key phrase behind IM@GINE IT is: facilitation of seamless travel inEurope.
Therefore, IM@GINE IT aimed to:
- cater for intermodality & seamlessness of travel. The mobility network is in reality seamless, thus IM@GINE IT should synthesise information of all modes, and of both urban and interurban environments. The constraints and specific requirements of all modes and environments involved should be taken into account;
- bridge the gap between in-vehicle and off-board information and navigation systems;
- bridge the gap between vehicle and pedestrian navigation method to provide a seamless intermodal navigation;
- be capable of collecting and managing data from different sources;
- cater for interchangeability & seamlessness of communication technologies (access everywhere). The back end (platform) as well as the front end (device) should be able to accommodate and/or switch to different communication networks according to the needs of the moment and place;
- be able to 'roam' between different media providers;
- be capable of always acknowledging the location of the end user wherever he/she is, thus switch between different positioning methods depending on the special requirements of the place or mode in which the end user is;
- be capable of navigating the end user at all levels (micro, within an airport for example, middle, within a city or area, and macro), and for the whole intermodal travel;
- provide other related location based or travel oriented services, such as booking/ticketing and emergency services;
- perform complex tasks on behalf of the user, and according to his/her preferences. These tasks may include: automatic selection of best travel plan, intelligent filtering & synthesis of information & services, automatic change of travel plans according to unexpected events, booking and ticketing.
- interface with external systems at the platform and/or the device point;
- provide an external data editor, which allows to an external content provider to update and enhance a central IM@GINE IT database;
- increase safety while driving by using IM@GINE IT
IM@GINE IT caters to the personal needs of the consumer in the following areas: 'Being', Knowing, Wanting, Acquiring, Enjoying.
Formally, IM@GINE IT catered for the needs of the consumer by providing information ('knowing') that permits a choice of services according to consumer preferences ('wanting'), arranging for the remote booking of those services ('acquiring'), facilitating trip planning according to user preferences ('wanting') through the provision of mobility information ('knowing'), on-line booking and ticketing ('acquiring'), in a way that ensures maximum comfort ('enjoying') and is customised to the consumer's profile ('being'). In essence this is a consumer value chain, i.e. the end user will identify value in a service to the extent that the service caters to his/her needs in at least one of the above areas.
The formulation of the users' objectives led to the cataloguing of a set of functional and non-functional requirements, per category, which by being clustered together, defined the scope and objectives of the IM@GINE IT system.
The overall architecture of IM@GINE IT is composed of the following main actors:
- the user;
- the service structure and the modality to access;
- the server side telematic platform, which manages content, services and user profiles;
- the device side application which hosts temporary users' preferences, interaction with other applications and user interface;
- the infrastructure on the field.
In summary, the IM@GINE IT system therefore is able to 'know':
- the geographic environment in which the end user is moving. Most important POIs are origin, destination of travel, and current location. The latter can be generated by GPS or by localisation via Wireless Network, Wireless Lan, logical localisation ('Koppelnavigation in car', using the time schedule of a train or plane…);
- all the transport network of the area in which it is active, including hubs, stops, PT routes and roads, of all involved modes;
- always where the end user is and how he/she is currently travelling. That means if he/she is on a transport vehicle of any mode, in a transport hub, in his/her car, on the road, off the road, pedestrian or not;
- what is the best way to communicate the services (network, on-line or off-line);
- where to find the information and/or service required (i.e. from which external system).
The IM@GINE IT system constitutes a pl
The main project results are listed and shortly described below:
Multi Agent System (MAS) for e-Market Place (including bluetooth agent, events handler agent and personalisation algorithm of HIT)
This product is a FIPA compliant agent platform hosting a broker agent with the optional capability to host one or more provider agents. The broker has the capability to federate with other brokers in other such platforms, thus forming a distributed service network.
Service Provider Agent
Agent-based software, that enables to package a complex service, based on a number of 'sub' services, locally added value, and to advertise it on the Service Integrator Application by means of a Broker Agent.
This product is a FIPA compliant agent platform hosting an interface agent (IA). The interface agent provides credentials to personal assistant agents (PAAs) that want to get the IM@GINE IT services. It provides credentials valid for service by a specific (local) broker agent. The IA monitors user transactions and can implement a variety of business models (prepayment, monthly payment, etc.), while the one developed for this project is recording user transactions (monthly payment scheme).
Nomad device Personal Assistant Agent
This product is a FIPA compliant agent platform hosting a personal assistant agent (PAA) and, optionally, a transport mode agent (TMA). The TMA 'feels' the user environment and can assist the PAA by intelligently inferring the user travel mode (e.g. in car, on foot, by bus, etc.). The PAA retains a user profile and learns about the user habits, as to what points of interest the user prefers to see around him/her and which travel chain is best for him/her in multi-modal trip planning.
Nomad device Transport Mode Agent
The TMS monitors a user's route and based on data regarding his/her position coming through GPS and a logical positioning method it can follow the user's progress in his/her route plan and can report any change in transport type or if he/she follows his/her trip while he/she is moving. Also, it can notify the user about relevant information for his/her current segment.
Specification and development of a multi-device HMI (PDA, mobile phone) for the application IM@GINE IT.
Smartphone Nomad device core application
Smartphone Nomad Device application enables the target device accessing the IM@GINE IT services. The application is
One of the project aims was to make content available for urban, regional and interurban, mode-specific travel information (car, bus, tram, metro, ship, airplane), geo-referenced web services and touristic Points of Interest (POI), through a single system, in order to provide and implement a set of web services to MAS. The approach followed included a top down approach, in which the Travel & Transport domains are de-composed into more specific business domains such as Traffic information, routing & mapping, public transport information and finally touristic information. These areas were looked into in more detail and service instances were identified. Their specific end user related functionalities and content were listed. Furthermore, the availability and organisation of both the basic content services and web services within the IM@GINE IT project has been defined. The conclusion is that there is a great diversity and full completeness of the required content for satisfying test cases at Germany, Italy, Finland, Hungary and Greece, while other European countries can be also partly covered.
The information aggregation for the content was performed at two levels. One at national level (called 'Service provider' level), at which basic content services were gathered and then synthesised and provided to the next level as web services. The second level was the MAS (multi agent system) itself (called 'Service integrator' level), at which the web services were transformed to system use cases. In between the two levels there were a few alternatives as per interfacing (either web service alone or agent based communication), all of which were implemented through the use of an Ontology. The common IM@GINE IT ontology for each service (traffic information, mapping, routing and touristic information) and a way of transforming local services to MAS level using these ontology specifications have been defined. A key innovation factor here was that the overall system aggregated information from multiple service content providers in Europe, and allowed the end user to access this information though a set of web services, designed for varieties of business domains (transport, tourism and travel). The core principle in the system design was to allow more service content providers to be integrated into the system later on. The above services prototype and documentation are included in D2.1.1 (confidential) and D2.1.2 (public).
The Data Management Module developed, offers a single gateway to Touristic inform
After the development of the main IM@GINE IT services and modules, but mainly according to the Pilots results, the need for new guidelines and standards has emerged, thus new standards and guidelines have been proposed.
For each one of the proposed standards a short description is included, together with the IM@GINE IT service domain it refers to. Furthermore, the proposed standards are to be distinguished if they are to be introduced as new ones (in the respective standardisation body), or if they are correlated to an existing standard, thus a modification of the respective standard is needed.