Mobile travel information - Denmark
Topic of the practice
Although significant emphasis is put on securing quality of public transport in Aalborg, delays do still occur, and sometimes passengers report feeling uncertain if the bus is delayed, or if they themselves arrive too late at the bus stop. Uncertainty about planned and actual departure times and the location of bus stops are some of the barriers that discourage potential passengers from using public transport. The availability of Real Time Passenger Information prior to getting on a bus and on board information (via screens. At the same time the systems contribute to improving the image of public transport as a modern means of transport and thereby helping public transport to appear as an attractive alternative to car use. In this measure, a mobile portal for public transport has been developed, including a set of Location Based Services (LBS) for mobile phones (based on the mobile phone’ GPS).
Good Practice Information
The LBS includes Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) from 30 nearest bus stops selected from the present GPS position, and a ‘Take Me Home’ service that gives the user a combined walking and PT trip from their present GPS position to your predefined Home address. It achieves this by integrating the GPS position, and saved user information, with the national Journey Planner.
The complete IT infrastructure for delivering RTPI including busPc and back offices system with prognoses algorithms in Aalborg were planned as part of EU project VIKING and implemented during the CIVITAS I VIVALDI project.
As part of the VIVALDI project, RTPI was implemented on 40 variable message signs (VMS) at major bus stops in Aalborg. The information has proved to be of great benefit for public transport users and as a consequence is helping to maintain uptake of public transport, although it does only cover the most important bus stop in Aalborg. Equipping bus stops with VMS is very expensive and is therefore only possible for major stops with a high customer flow. But in Denmark, almost everyone aged over 8 carries a mobile phone. So by using these mobile phones as VMS for RTPI, the information is spread to all people and all bus stops; the investment is taken up by the users and the technology is always kept up-to-date. As a consequence of this, a mobile service was implemented as part of the EU MIDAS project. This service was menu based prompting the user to choose in a three level menubefore the RTPI were presented. In this way, it was possible to get round the two problems of the customer not knowing the precise name of the bus stop, and the difficulties of keying long names on a mobile phone.
As an even better solution it is now possible to skip the menus and present the user for RTPI based on the users GPS position. As a parallel, an interface to the national Journey Planner have been develop, where keying in is substituted by either GPS positions or predefined locations. The
Evidence of success
More than 3.000 people have downloaded the JAVA application. Aalborg has following expects from this measure: increased levels of satisfaction among public transport users and an increase in public transport usage.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Lars Elgaard Thomsen
Public Transport Authority of North Denmark, It Coordinator