European transport information is characterised by its local or restricted qualities. In order to develop systems that have wider regional, national and pan-European potential, it is first necessary to develop common specifications and standards for sharing and exchanging transport data. Earlier work has successfully developed standards for individual transport modes.
TRIDENT aimed to extend these standards to operate in a multi-modal transport environment, laying the foundation for the development of more comprehensive transport information systems and the achievement of significant improvements to the availability and accuracy of transport information across Europe.
Also, common and sharing and exchange specifications are a key enabling factor for service interoperability and customer roaming.
TRIDENT’s intention was to develop specifications and software modules to enable the sharing and exchange of real-time multimodal traffic and traveller information through the whole Transport and Travel Information content chain.
Two different paths to achieve this goal were selected: One based on the “messaging approach” (EDI, DATEX) and the other one based on the use of more modern object-oriented (OO) technologies.
The aim of the EDI approach is to offer existing DATEX users a way to exchange a larger variety of content using their existing DATEX nodes as well as provide a first step of the migration path towards the OO technologies.
The aim of the OO approach is to offer new actors means to exchange the whole range of traffic and traveller information using modern technologies, yet fully taking advantage of the high level of know-how obtained in developing the DATEX (road traffic information exchange) and TransModel (Public Transport reference model) standards.
After the development of the draft specifications, a five test site validation and demonstration of applications based on the specifications was planned.
TRIDENT reached its goals and produced two sets of specifications, implemented them at 4 test sites in Europe and produced the final specifications.
TRIDENT built and operated four different test sites: West Yorkshire, Rome, Paris and Flanders. All of the applications have proven successful, and continue to operate after the end of the project. West Yorkshire and Paris applications are already enlarging from the original demonstration sites to other areas and transportation modes, Flanders is used for assessing supply of public transport in altered demand situations and Rome is considering adding tourism information to the existing TRIDENT application.
Since the production of the first full draft of the OO specifications took a lot longer than expected, a recurring update procedure for the OO specifications was adopted, for as long as the specifications were at least to a small level acceptable by all the demonstration sites. This approach was chosen as it was realised that sites would run into enormous problems had they use the previous version of the specifications.
The final specifications and modules have been already released to more than 40 different organisations and companies in both Europe and overseas for evaluation purposes.
Specifications have been submitted to the CEN Technical Committee 278 working groups 3, 4 and 8. It has been recognised that the TRIDENT specifications will end up being a key European standard on multimodal information exchange.
The platform created by the TRIDENT Forum and Seminar held at the end of the project will act as a catalyst for the development and convergence of different developments into a pan-European solution. The supporting (TriEx) forum kicked off in 2003.