A multi-modal route-planning application to encourage “greener” transport behaviour

OPTIMUM, an EU-funded research project, has launched a multi-modal route-planning application (app) that features smart notifications and proactive recommendations to encourage “greener” transport behaviour.

The app, within the context of the project, supports multimodal route planning in three major European cities, namely Birmingham (UK), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Vienna (Austria). All available information on complex urban transportation networks has been integrated in these three cities, including public means of transport — e.g. trains, metros, buses, taxi, shared bicycles, shared cars and electric vehicles.

This first version of the app, one the main outcomes of the OPTIMUM project, can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store.

The OPTIMUM app includes a personal profile that can be enabled to suggest greener transport recommendations. Based on start location and destination inputs, the app can plan routes to meet specific individual needs — e.g. time and date of arrival or departure, transport modes or vehicle locations. The user can also add “via points” along the route proposed by the application. In addition, the app can suggest alternative routes, along with information on modes of transport, time of travel and CO2 emissions for each trip alternative. Routing optimisation can then be personalised to fit the user’s travel profile.

Persuasive messaging accompanies each specific alternative to steer the user towards making greener transportation choices — i.e. walking, cycling or using public transport, instead of travelling by car. Later versions of the app will integrate a crediting system that rewards greener transportation choices. The app, which supports the storage of current and future trip itineraries, allows quick access to planned trips, and informs the user about events that could have possible impacts (e.g. traffic jams, accidents, road works).

The user’s local surroundings are shown as a map, which allows the user to locate a potential destination or identify points of interest (POIs). POIs can be filtered through categories and be included in route requests. Finally, feedback functionality is very important, as it allows the user communicate easily with the OPTIMUM project, which in turn allows the user to rate the app and provide feedback text.

OPTIMUM is funded under Call No. MG-7.1-2014 of the European Commission. The goal of OPTIMUM is to establish a largely scalable, distributed architecture for the management and processing of multisource big-data, enabling continuous monitoring of transportation systems needs and proposing proactive decisions and actions in a semi-automated way.

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