EU-funded scientists are piloting a service that will allow people to determine the best way of making journeys in cities. As well as helping individuals find the most efficient route and travel mode, the systems should cut congestion and lower the environmental impacts of road transport. The system was presented to representatives from industry and service providers, as well as city and regional officials, at an event in Vienna, Austria, on 25 January.
The service is the product of the IN-TIME (Intelligent and efficient travel management for European cities) project, funded with €2.9 million (US$3.95 million) under the Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP) of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). Total project cost is €4.58 million (US$6.2 million).
The goal of IN-TIME is to encourage individuals to change the way they travel by providing them with interoperable multimodal Real Time Traffic and Travel Information (RTTI) services. The project team is focusing on three related areas. Business-to-business services will provide European Traffic Information Services Providers (TISPs) with access to regional traffic and travel data.
This in turn will enable the TISPs to provide users with RTTI services via their mobile phones or navigational devices. Information provided via these services should incite users to choose the best route, taking into account energy consumption, cost and congestion for example. The system will access a wide range of information, including public transport timetables, real time public transport information and news on accidents, road works and deviations, among other things.
A web-based service will also allow people planning an urban trip to work out the best way of getting from A to B, taking into account travel time, cost and different modes of travel.
The novel system will be piloted in six European cities: Brno (Czech Republic), Bucharest (Romania), Florence (Italy), Munich (Germany), Oslo (Norway) and Vienna.
IN-TIME will give users the unique possibility to optimize their travel routes in cities and to change their travel habits in a more environmentally friendly way without any effort. This service could not only enhance the user’s comfort in travelling, but also help to achieve goals like CO2reduction or the better use of capacity in transport in urban areas.—Dr. Martin Boehm, project coordinator
According to the project partners, IN-TIME will reduce congestion by making journeys using more than one mode of transport more attractive. The partners also point out that cutting congestion will make roads safer by reducing the stress drivers experience when sitting in a traffic jam or in stop-and-go traffic.
In addition, encouraging users to switch from their cars to other modes of transport will reduce the environmental impacts of transport, such as greenhouse gas and particulate emissions as well as noise pollution.
The team also hopes that if the pilots are successful, the project will give the economy a boost by cutting companies’ delivery and distribution costs, creating a number of jobs in the telematics industry, and highlighting Europe’s place as a world leader in the area of intermodal traveller information systems. This last point is helped by the fact that many of the project partners come from the industry and so are in a position to rapidly transform the product outcomes into new products and services.
The next challenge will be to connect the regions throughout Europe and to set common standards for data quality, services and usability. In this context, IN-TIME is a very important next step and can be called an outstanding best practice example for innovative traffic services and transnational cooperation.—Bernhard Engleder of the City of Vienna
The IN-TIME project, which has 21 partners in 8 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Romania) started in 2009 and is scheduled to end in 2012.
The partners are: Telematix, Brimatech, Teleatlas, Mizar, Austro Control, micKS, Geo Solutions, Brnenské komunikace, ATAF, Softeco Sismat, Verkehrsverbund Ost, Universitatea Politehnica din Bucuresti, SINTEF, ASFINAG, Fluidtime, ERTICO, PTV, Swarco, Arsenal Research, Memex, and TelMap.