The latest technology innovations in mobile communications, wireless technologies, satellite systems for location and positioning, and information management allow the development and enhancement of location-based valueadded services for mobile users. These services are beneficial to all modes of transport and personal mobility.
PEPTRAN's task was to develop software to guide a user from point to point within a city, walking and using public transport in the most efficient manner.
The software ought to be implemented on two platforms: a hand-held device, and an existing car navigation system. In the second case, the software would guide the car driver to the best place to park and change to public transport, on the assumption that the user wishes to avoid driving in the city centre. In either case, the system would share the duties of finding a route with a central server, with which it communicates by GSM wireless data transmission.
The function of the mobile unit was to produce candidate partial routes from the map data to which it had access, and the central server shall produce candidate partial routes based on public transport timetables and live information about the progress of the public transport vehicles. The mobile unit had the responsibility for assembling the complete route and presenting the route to the user in a manner suitable for the environment in which it was operating: the exact means of presenting the route to the user would vary with the display capabilities of the hardware, from a full map for a palmtop-sized communicator, to a simple single-line text message for a smartphone.
To implement the systems, four modules for the PEPTRAN system had to be developed. Firstly, the route-finding software should use the public transport navigation server. Secondly, a standard database interface ought to be developed to help in attaching it to whatever tracking system a local transport company had. For the mobile unit, a communication interface had to be developed to get the data from the server via ISDN and GSM and a means of integrating partial routes from the server with partial routes from the mobile device. The systems should be tested in one large city, and one larger region. The transport data for these shall be furnished by two members of the consortium. Finally, there was an intent to develop the protocols necessary to download local maps via the car system to the handheld system, using digital audio broadcasting (DAB).
The first period of the project was supposed to gather user requirements, by means of surveys, user groups and user tracking in the two test area.
This should continuously feed results to a parallel analysis and design task, shortly followed by a set of tasks dealing with the implementation of the communications software, XML data interchange formats, and the database interfaces from the transport companies' existing databases to the public transport navigation server.
Software shall be written to allow the public transport companies to enter data not currently present in their databases, but necessary for route-planning or presentation of the routes to the users. Over a period of about a year, the existing stand-alone routing software for the hand-held device and car was expected to be modified to incorporate the partial routes describing the public transport section of journeys. During the later part of this period, the public transport companies shall prepare to evaluate the finished software in the field, using criteria developed in the first part of the project.
The evaluation shall take place after the development of the main part of the software, and shall include two large cohorts of end users who should be loaned the equipment to evaluate it in the field for a month each. During this testing of the software, some further auxiliary software shall be developed to allow users to download local maps by DAB or GSM. Finally there ought to be a short phase of revision of the software to reflect the findings during evaluation.
All the objectives have been accomplished.