Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

I-TOUR Report Summary

Project ID: 234239
Funded under: FP7-TRANSPORT
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - I-TOUR (i-TOUR: intelligent Transport system for Optimized URban trips)



Executive Summary:

i-Tour is the acronym for a three-years European co-funded project by the 7th Seventh Framework Program on Research. i-Tour stands for "Intelligent Transport system for Optimized URban trips" and it is a Collaborative Focused Research Project presented to the call on Surface Sustainable Transport topic "SST.2008.3.1.2 Intelligent mobility systems and multi-modal interfaces for transport of passengers"

i-Tour develops an open framework to be used by different providers, authorities and citizens to provide intelligent multi-modal mobility services.

The project builds on top of widespread diffusion of novel info-mobility services that are promoting multi-modal transport. These will have a profound impact on citizen's lives across EU, in terms of safety (40,000+ people per year die on European roads) efficiency (congestion costs an estimated in 1% of EU total GDP ) environmental sustainability (transport accounts for 30% of total energy consumption in the EU).

The i-Tour system is a new urban traveller information system that offers users routing advice for multimodal trips. Furthermore, the i-Tour system is an advanced system in that it takes into account users’ activity agendas. The system monitors the execution of a user’s activity schedule and generates alerts and recommendations when conflicts or opportunities arise, such as for changing a route or using a POI (Point Of Interest). Compared to existing traveller information systems, i-Tour uses a comprehensive representation of individual users’ travel preferences in a so-called user profile. In the system, user profiles are not static. Based on a built-in learning model, i-Tour is able to incrementally learn a user’s personal preferences each time it receives feedback on the travel choice a user makes. Thus, the i-Tour system is adaptive and increasingly able to tailor its advice to the personal preferences of a user while it learns from his or her choices.

The i-Tour prototype is now at the stage of reaching the users; to achieve this, the i-Tour consortium has built a business model and a go-to-market strategy.

Project Context and Objectives:

Summary description of the project context and the main objectives

i-Tour is the acronym for a three-years European co-funded project by the 7th Seventh Framework Program on Research. i-Tour stands for "Intelligent Transport system for Optimized URban trips" and it is a Collaborative Focused Research Project presented to the call on Surface Sustainable Transport topic "SST.2008.3.1.2 Intelligent mobility systems and multi-modal interfaces for transport of passengers"

i-Tour develops an open framework to be used by different providers, authorities and citizens to provide intelligent multi-modal mobility services.

The project builds on top of widespread diffusion of novel info-mobility services that are promoting multi-modal transport. These will have a profound impact on citizen's lives across EU, in terms of safety (40,000+ people per year die on European roads) efficiency (congestion costs an estimated in 1% of EU total GDP ) environmental sustainability (transport accounts for 30% of total energy consumption in the EU).

Currently there are a multitude of timetable information systems available for public transport. Most public transport operators offer web-browser-based tools, and an increasing number of services are now also available via tablets and smartphones. However, currently there is no navigation system that completely accounts for hybrid private and public transport networks. Some existing initiatives support routing through public transport networks. However, no current systems supports at the same time customization, in terms of user travel preferences, and real-time information, while promoting an open approach based on common standards.

Promisingly enough, the as-is scenario is characterized by: 1) the wide spread of wireless connections at urban and regional scale (e.g. 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi ); 2) info-mobility services promoting multi-modal transport; 3) the development of transportation services based on localization technologies.

This creates the pre-conditions for the next generation personal mobility systems, as promoted by i-Tour, whose functionalities may be listed as follows: original software, accessibility for mobile use, public transit option, navigator features, real-time updates, automatic suggestions, route comparison (price, traffic conditions, weather conditions etc.), comprehensive POI information, user feedback, support for environmentally sustainable routing, serious-game interfaces to promote environmental awareness.

Each of the existing products/applications/initiatives covers some, but not all, of the above functionalities. The i-Tour paradigm is to encompass all. (Table1). i-Tour system will satisfy real market needs, for commuters and city new users, to travel multi-modally inside an urban area. It will be a "stargate" for accessing all-in-one territory information, also based on a loyal community, providing trustable and reliable users' feedback.

i-Tour client supports and suggests, in a user-friendly way, the choice of different means of transport (bus, car, railroad, tram, etc) taking into account user preferences as well as real-time information on road conditions, weather, public transport network. To do so, i-Tour promotes a new approach to data collection, focusing on a recommender system based on the information provided by the whole user community. Furthermore, i-Tour mobility client applications will feature a user-friendly interface accessible from PCs, tablets and smartphones.

i-Tour clients are designed to promote use of public transport by encouraging sustainable travel choices, (measured, for instance, in terms of CO2 emission saved by using public transport) which can be rewarded, e.g. through free public transport tickets, thus promoting and encouraging environmental friendly travel behaviors.

The objectives of the project can be grouped in 5 macro goals:

1. Development of a reliable and secure data collection approach capable to benefit both from measures of real-time conditions on public transport load and from information provided by citizens. For this reason, a trust-based mechanism would ensure reliability of the uploaded content and accuracy of the consumed content, and at the same time the highest level of privacy.
2. Development of a modular infrastructure based on standard open technologies that can be adopted by public transport providers to expose harmonized transport-related services.
3. Development of a personalized multi-modal transport information system capable of provision of user-tailored travel choices and capability to learn incrementally from the users' preferences.
4. Development of a user-friendly travel information system, promoting sustainable travel choices based on multi-modal public transport.
5. An additional goal of i-Tour will be the identification of new business models based on real-time personalized LBS (Localisation Based Services) of interest for urban travellers.

The performance of all actions leading to the project objectives has led to the successful deployment of a working i-Tour prototype.

The i-Tour project has been performed by the following partners: FORMIT Servizi S.p.a, Fondazione Graphitech, University College of London, Eindhoven University of Technology, ULA Srl, FIAT Group Automobiles Spa, PTV AG - Traffic Mobility Logistics Cadzow Communications Consulting Ltd, Fondazione FORMIT.

The members of the Stakeholders' Board, the majority of which also have participated in the technical activities of the project, are:

1. Transport for London (UK)
2. Circumvesuviana (IT)
3. Provincia Autonoma di Trento (IT)
4. Autostrade Meridionali (IT)
5. Provincia di Bologna (IT)
6. Provincia di Napoli (IT)
7. Lauro (IT)
8. Thales Italia (IT)
9. TTS Italia (IT)
10. ADI/ISG Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação no Instituto Superior de Gestão (PT)
11. Algorab (IT)
12. Sincro Consulting (IT)
13. TASS International (NL)

Project Results:

S&T results/foregrounds

Overview of results

The main focus of i-Tour falls within SST.2008.3.1.2 “Intelligent mobility systems and multi-modal interfaces for transport of passengers” as the project promotes a user friendly reliable travel information system for optimal multi-modal passenger trips based on novel data collection techniques capable to promote and award sustainable travel choices.

i-Tour predicates an approach whereby citizens can benefit from a wide range of Location Based Services, favoured by the expansion of cheap bandwidth and the diffusion of smartphones and tablets. This vision is in line within the priorities set by the EU ICT for Mobility Strategic Research Agenda which advocates the use of info-mobility service, including pre-trip, on-trip and post-trip information.

As a final result the project has developed an i-Tour service toolbox ready to be deployed by public transport providers, public administrations as well as companies to deliver intelligent user friendly mobility systems to citizens. The i-Tour framework has been based on open source technology and includes a set of services, necessary for access, distribution and processing of real-time data related to public transport. The toolbox will include a portal providing access to applications specifically designed to provide user-friendly interactive access to citizens both in mobility scenarios. In fact i-Tour clients will be available from a portal accessible through PCs as well as mobile devices, representing the interface to the i-Tour mobility service infrastructure.

However i-Tour moves a step further as citizens themselves evolve from mere consumer of information to producer of data-rich content according to a level of trust similar to that developed in virtual communities such as Wikipedia or Google Earth. Furthermore the multimodal travel information services proposed by i-Tour is capable to generate personalized travel information systems and to learn incrementally from the users’ choices.

I-Tour project has generated several different and innovative scientific and technical achievements along the different work packages as described in the DoW and reported inside each deliverable report. These go from algorithms for multimodal routing to scientific publications, passing through new data structures, security and anonymity practices, state of the art standards, advanced graphics and innovative interaction paradigms. However, these results should not only be considered as independent outcomes but rather as a whole interconnection of technologies expressed through the final i-Tour platform system.

This platform represents the way in which the achievements of each work package both theoretical and practical can be functional for the improvement of the citizens’ quality of life bringing them an entire set of state of the art or even more innovative instruments in a usable way.

The consortium has currently in its hands a prototype, which can potentially turn into an industrial product which exposes to the users innovative features like:

- Multimodal routing (walk, car, bike, bus, train, etc.) with advanced emission calculations, constant user profiling and dynamic answer adaptation;
- Daily activity scheduler and re-scheduler for user’s daily events with notifications and constant routing assistance;
- Natural language search system for points of interest for both Italian and English languages;
- Recommendation system for points of interest on all the Europe with the opportunity to evaluate and edit them;
- Access control mechanism to rate each point of interest evaluation and allow/block the editing based on user’s behaviour.
- A set of serious games to improve the environmental awareness, engage users and provide an example of the communication mechanism between the i-Tour client and third party software which could lead to new kind of businesses (i.e. advertisement);

This platform of services is condensed and exposed through an advanced mobile client for Android phones which adds several functionalities to exploit the aforementioned services in the most natural and intuitive way. It adds to the platform, among the other things:

- An easy to use interface which is able to adapt to what the user is doing (e.g. walking, running, etc.);
- A global map viewer with augmented reality;
- A navigation system with alerts and re-routing;
- Access to real-time or almost real-time events and weather forecast conditions;

This constitutes the final aggregated outcome of the consortium as the result of an extensive and coordinated integration activity leveraged in the entire duration of the project.

Hereafter a description of the features of the i-Tour prototype follows.

(For the readers’ convenience, the objectives of the project and the relevant achievements are shown in the last part of the document)

The architecture:

The architecture designed is based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), where software components (web services) communicate via the web through standard protocols and are designed to manage a wide range of real-time information from public transport providers by the use of advanced data collection techniques. It also consists of a modular infrastructure based on standard open technologies.

The objective is granting harmonized access, overcoming the issue of lack of interoperability, due to non-homogeneous operators: interoperability regards information (data structure) infrastructure (services) and data formats (protocols). The solution envisaged is a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), where a multimodal routing system harmonizes all data, to provide them to the i-Tour Portal, to which final users (including transport entities and individual travellers) may have access and to which they can give feedback. Such SOA is developed and deployed as open source toolbox, allowing each public transport operator's LAN to interface with the i-Tour client. This is done within the scope of the INSPIRE directive, i.e. making use of standard protocols.

More specifically the i- Tour architecture is a multi-layer SDI with a data level (DB's of the various operators), a middleware level, and an application layer, pertaining both to the transport operators and to the travellers. The latter has access through the i-Tour Portal and mobile App, for information and feedback.

Technologies adopted within the platform include:

- Operative Systems: Linux, Windows
- Web servers: Apache, Apache Tomcat, GeoServer
- Database: Postgres, PostGIS
- Standard communication formats: XML, WMS, GeoRSS, JSON, OpenLS, SQL
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Multimodal Routing

- The model developed is capable to handle routing queries across private as well as public transport networks, accounting for information such as real-time transport network status (e.g. traffic, crowding levels), user preferences etc.
- The approach developed is based on a high-level abstract modelling of the overall multimodal transport network whereby transfer links are used to represent a modality transfer (e.g. from bus to train etc.). This technique has been based on the so-called supernetwork approach. Within such a high-level network there are both physical nodes and event nodes. The former have attributes such as distance, time, speed, quality etc. The latter incorporate time tables of services and represent arrival and departing at a given stop or station.
- The multimodal network is classified into private (e.g. foot, car, bike) and public modes. The modelling has been based on a generalised cost function that can account not only for time required to get from a node to another, but also for cost, quality of service (e.g. crowding levels or other ratings provided by the users), as well as other conditions.

Daily Activity Scheduler

The objective of the activity scheduler component of i-Tour is fourfold:

1. Integration of the routing service and activity calendar service
2. Checking activity-scheduling constraints in basic activity-calendar operations
3. Monitoring the execution of an activity schedule
4. Detecting conflicts and providing recommendations in all stages

Activity Scheduler relates with other components:

1st component: Route planner – provides routing service for the scheduling component. This component corresponds to the routing system of i-Tour.

2nd component:Calendar – manages and stores activity and travel entries in the calendar. Although existing calendar services, such as Google calendar, can be used as a user- interface for display and management of calendars, the storage facilities offered in existing tools are not flexible enough for our purpose. Therefore, the Activity Scheduler assumes an own database where the activity calendars of users are stored including all the augmented information required for the functions of the activity scheduler. On a main level, the database consists of two data tables: a table to store activity records and a table for storing trip records of users. Existing calendar services allow only one common event table where trips aren’t handled specifically. Here, two separate tables are used because the attribute sets for activities and trips are different. The start time and end time includes the date of the calendar day. The activity schedule of a particular person on a particular day can be reconstructed by selecting all trip and activity records with a corresponding user-id and corresponding start-time date and rank the records in the order of start time.

3rd component: Scheduler– includes the functionality involved in constraints checking and recommendation. The general idea here is that the scheduler does not allow conflicts in the self- designed calendar/agenda database. Each time the user makes a change to the activity calendar (e.g., inserting, deleting or updating an activity) the scheduler checks whether constraints are met. Conflicts are not allowed because they cause operational difficulty and potential errors for the scheduler. An agenda should be free of errors in order for the scheduler to be able to function properly and provide assistance in later stages.

Natural Language interface

The natural language search can be accessed by the user from all the views of the mobile client as already explained in D.6.06. The search string can be typed or dictated using the voice recognition and once sent, the request is elaborated by the natural language component. In this final prototype, routing and POI search requests through natural language processing have been merged together. In particular, the following patterns have been implemented:

• from … to … : best travel routing from source address to destination address;
• get me to … : best travel routing from device position address to destination address;
• go to … : best travel routing from device position address to destination address;
• Any other search string activates the natural language processing;
• In case of NLP search success result are shown;
• In case of NLP search fail, a geocoding is performed with preferred bounds defined on the basis of the user’s location;

All the results are shown by the system through a set of hyperlinks triggering a specific type of visualisation on i-Tour map. The approach also allows the backend processing service to tune its answers and learn from user expectations to improve future answers.

Recommendation System

Trust Based Recommender System basic functionalities:

- Collecting Ratings. The system collects ratings from each user, either implicitly or explicitly, over time, whenever the user consumes an item. It thus builds a so-called user’s profile, which is a vector of ratings about consumed items.
- Predicting Missing Values. Collected ratings are input to a CF algorithm: the algorithm is trained with the known ratings, in order to identify users with similar preferences. It is then asked to predict the values for items that have not been consumed yet, and for which a rating is thus missing.
- Ranking and Recommending. The predictions are used to create a personalised ranking of unrated items for each user; this tailored list is served to each user as a ranked list of recommendations.

Access control mechanism

The access control mechanism based on the concept of users’ “trust” level, whose degree is dynamically re-allocated according to the user behaviour and detected trustworthiness. This mechanism is essential to make sure that information coming from users with high degree of credibility is regarded as very reliable, therefore promoting positive loop feedback, discouraging incorrect entry through downgrading of user’s credibility. This mechanism, which spurs from social network communities, is applied in the context of personal mobility and travel preferences.

Serious Games

The first game developed is a racing game targeted to young users, already used to play similar games through other gaming devices. The game allows users to drive a bus around a futuristic city that has been procedurally built on top of a real street network

The second game is a geo-localised tamagotchi-like application targeted to all kind of users. The application is basically a way through which the user can visualize its green profile. The longer time the user spends on public transport the more points he will earn.

OBJECTIVES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE i-TOUR PROJECT

Objective 1: Reliable and secure data collection and access: achieved

i-Tour aims at managing a wide range of real-time information coming from several public transport providers. The i-Tour consortium and stakeholders have ensured the capability of aggregating standard information on traffic coming from a variety of data bases belonging to Transport Operators. This information is extended to include information on public transport network load through alternative forms of data collection. For this reason information extracted from standard ticketing systems can be integrated with ticketing information coming from state of the art infrastructures using Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, and public transport load prediction systems using cameras, as the ones installed at designated train platforms from Circumvesuviana, to automatically detect crowding levels.

Key to i-Tour approach to data collection is the modelling of users not only as passive consumers but also as active producers of content by giving the opportunity to share geo-referenced data. Traditional public transport systems are governed in a centralized way; however the wide range of information managed is by its very nature subject to variation. Ensuring information consistency is an essential factor to ensure reliability, for this reason novel approaches capable to benefit from the user community contributes are required. Therefore, i-Tour has developer a mobile client which can be used to share information on the urban environment of interest for the community. The community itself is asked to validate the data with respect to their correctness, up-to-datedness and classification.

For this reason i-Tour has also developed a specific trust-based mechanism that will dynamically evaluate which users are allowed to upload what content into the travel system. This approach follows the experience of other “virtual communities” such as Google Earth and Wikipedia, where users are allowed to create content according to a level of reliability within the community.

Since the massive amount of data that will be available through the travel information system, users run the risk of suffering from information overload. To actually turn abundance of content from a problem to a i-Tour has developed a highly personalised recommender system, thus connecting users with content they actually want and will enjoy. I-Tour recommender system is to leverage both trust in the creation of content, and similarity of users’ interests.

For this reason the consortium has also studied the emergent communities in the system (e.g. commuters, tourists, police operators), together with their properties (e.g., size, level of activity, overlap of interests, etc.). This profiling action, on the other hand, highlights the need for a strict privacy protection schema. For this reason we have developed strategies and rules to protect user’s identities when accessing the transport services in order to give assurance of user privacy including, where possible, an assurance of anonymity.

Objective 2: Modular infrastructure based on standard open technologies: achieved

i-Tour has developed a service based open infrastructure to ensure proper distribution of all different data made available to the system. This has been achieved by means of a federated system, often referred to as SDI or Spatial Data Infrastructure, based on a number of web services (middleware) communicating through open protocol based on OGC® (Open Geospatial Consortium) and ISO standards. This has been used to create a state of the art toolbox to be put at the disposal of administrations and public transport providers to expose harmonised services, necessary for accessing, distributing and processing data on public transport network.

To this extent RTD objectives of i-Tour are in line with the INSPIRE directive (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe). Specifically i-Tour provides relevant contributions to theme 7 of INSPIRE Annex I - “Transport networks” explicitly referring to routing systems, traffic management and transport planning. Components have been engineered to expose services within a SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and have been developed and deployed as open source toolbox allowing each public transport operator to be responsible of the creation, maintenance and update of a specific set of services. This way each actor of the federation, i.e. each public transport provider, becomes responsible for the deployment and maintenance of a specific geographical service whilst being consumer of several other providers’ services.

The adoption of open standardised technology may also have a positive impact on the adoption of i-Tour middleware within a wider public transport provider stakeholder community, beyond the operators directly involved in the project.

Objective 3: Personalised multi-modal transport information system: achieved

The i-Tour prototype provides intelligent multi-modal routing services to users, capable to adapt to the user preferences and to respond adequately to real-time events through proper re-scheduling. To enable this behavior, i-Tour has developed models for multimodal transport networks through the use of hypernetworks, to allow finding of optimal least-cost multimodal trips using a shortest-path algorithm. Real-time information received by the sensors via the i-Tour middleware such as waiting times, effort and inconvenience involved in transfers are represented in the generalised cost functions associated to transfer links and, hence, can be taken into account when searching for an optimal route for a multimodal trip. These generalized cost functions are dynamic and updated each time a change in the state of the traveller causes a change his/her preferences for travel options Internally, i-Tour represents users’ personal and state-dependent travel preferences in a causal network structure by using the Bayesian Belief Network formalism. As preferences of a user tend to be non-stationary, i-Tour conceptualizes these preference structures as beliefs the system has of the user at a current moment in time. I-Tour will be able to update these beliefs each time the user makes a choice regarding travel options or schedule adaptations by modelling incremental learning as Bayesian belief updating in the context of the Bayesian Network. This way i-Tour learns from the users’ choices and feedbacks.

Keeping user’s preferences associated to specific situations, i-Tour will frame this information in a way that connects to the perception and needs of the traveller.

In addition, the mobility system identifies time conflicts, brings them to the awareness of the user and presents suggestions for schedule adaptations taking into account user’s preferences and constraints imposed by the current space-time environment and activity program. This is obtained via highly efficient heuristic approaches to optimizing schedules.

Moreover, i-Tour is capable of providing public transport users with travel strategies that take into account not only the current traffic conditions but also the effects that the users of the system, as a community, infer on the traffic conditions by following the directions given by i–Tour clients. To do so i-Tour bases the development on an empirically estimated and validated discrete-choice model of compliance that takes into account possible strategic behaviour of a traveller (e.g., declining an advice because everyone else may follow the same advice and the location/route will be crowded). As a result i-Tour travel information system takes into account the level of acceptance of the guiding system and adjusts the overall system conditions accordingly.

Most relevantly, i-Tour features state-of-the-art modelling on strategic behavior in multi-modal urban travel, based on recent research achievements.

Objective 4: User friendly personalised travel information systems: achieved

In order to make i-Tour services available to citizens, i-Tour has developed user-friendly mobility clients to be made available through a public i-Tour portal, accessible both from PCs as well as from smartphones and tablets. i-Tour provides the portal as a toolbox, completely based on open source technologies, and ready to be deployed by public administrations.

Users connecting to the portal will be able to use i-Tour services to plan trips combining different transport modes based on the use of real-time information made available through the i-Tour middleware.

Travel options and preferences are then saved in a centralised repository and made accessible to mobile users. Citizens are enabled to access the i-Tour portal and its services with their portable devices through thin clients, based on technologies for interactive web.

i-Tour clients allow users to define complex travel requests in natural language. For this i-Tour makes use of innovative human language parsing technologies to translate requests expressed in human language into complex geographically-aware queries.

Most importantly, i-Tour clients are designed to promote use of public transport by encouraging sustainable behavioural patterns and by defining rewarding mechanisms for citizens opting for travel choices with positive impact on climate change (e.g. based on public transport use as well as on cycling/walking). For this reason we have devised effective rewarding schemas by promoting forms of incentives that can raise the level of public awareness in terms of transport impact on climate change.

Objective 5: Identification of new business models based on real-time personalised LBS: achieved

The business models were worked out, with special reference to a first feasibility study, in order to assess the magnitude of the effort needed to break even in a reasonable time span.

A go-to-market strategy for i-Tour was envisaged, with alternatives. Such strategy derives from an overall goal of achieving full exploitation of i-Tour by the highest possible number of ultimate users. This goal should be attained with full recovery of costs by the consortium. There are three possible strategies:

1. To market the entire system – server + data exchange interfaces, and provide assistance for system use;
2. To market server access and interface configuration – exclusive and non-exclusive licence, on a territorial base, and provide assistance for system use;
3. To market the system as an app through application stores.

Two alternative configurations have been envisaged:

a) A new company (or entity different from a commercial company) representing the present consortium so as to go to market maintaining capacity and opportunity to manage the innovation process; or
b) A strong partner (or more than one, per each European country or group of EU countries) for industrialisation, placement and assistance

In the course of the third year of the project, the composite hypothesis 3-a has been added to the previously chosen 2-a and 2-b, and all three have been increasingly targeted and quantified. The other three have been outphased as less interesting to the project.

The go-to-market strategy and the overall business model of i-Tour does not set a profitability objective, but rather seeks the attainment of maximum diffusion with full recovery of costs. This also means that break-even has to be achieved as soon as possible.

In cases 2-a and 2-b, the break-even point is attained at around 50 Million population reached (30 metropolitan areas across Europe being involved): this is the result of a sensitivity analysis placing unit royalties at 5 cents and 2 cents per inhabitant, respectively.

In case 3-a, break-even is likely to be attained when purchases top 1,2 million,corresponding to 830,000 users (30 metropolitan areas across Europe being involved).

Potential Impact:

The i-Tour project aims to offer the transport user the ever-evolving services on multi-modal transport, in a way that allows her/him to have greater say through one’s preferences in how the transport options will be supplied.

i-Tour will then allow transport users to control some parts of the impact on the EU citizen’s lives, for example for safety, congestion and environmental responsibility.

1. Safety, as 40,000+ people die on Europe roads each year with a cost for the European economy of approx. 200B€ p.a.
2. Efficiency, Congestion costs an estimated in 1% of EU total GDP or 100B€ p.a. and i-Tour will provide transport users greater information about the level of congestion on their journey to allow them to maximise the efficient use of time on that journey.

In addition, i-Tour offers a significant degree of social co-operative planning for transport by allowing users to share experiences and recommenda-tions with each other. This social in-teraction for transport efficiency has the potential to bring a revolution in transport efficiency.

3. Environmental sustainability, as transport accounts for 30% of total energy consumption in the EU, with the vast majority being consumed by road transport.

i-Tour’s route optimisation model takes into account parameters accounting for personal use of public transport including travel times, costs, preferred transport means, number of modality changes, pollution minimisation, real-time public transport load, weather conditions. As for the impact on efficiency, i-Tour allows sharing and recommending transport modes through models of social networking infrastructure.

In the last decades, the increase in traffic volumes has caused a rise in congestion with consequent destructive effects on the environment, quality of life and transport safety. The cost that citizens pay every day in terms of wasted time, pollution and safety is enormous. The risk, therefore, is that the ever-increasing transport demand which characterises the urban transport system will make this cost unsustainable. Ensuring all citizens with the freedom of moving safely, efficiently and compliantly with the environment is, therefore, a European priority. This goal can be reached only through direct intervention on transport demand, by distributing traffic flows among the different modes in a more balanced way through the use of innovative mobile IT technologies. IT solutions for mobility management and control can have relevant impact to face the negative effects of the chaotic traffic jams affecting the cities and motorway networks.

Ideal route optimisation must take into account a complex set of conditions far beyond parameters such as travel times to include factors such as costs, preferred transport means, number of modality changes, pollution minimisation, real-time public transport load (e.g. number of passengers currently on a given train), weather conditions (e.g. to suggest walking only in dry conditions).

Further optimisation at the travel information level must take into account not only the current conditions but also the effects that the users of the system, as a community, infer on the traffic conditions themselves through new demand management strategies that account for the level of acceptance of the guiding system and adjust the overall system conditions accordingly.

Additionally, support and promotion of sustainable and environmental-friendly travel preferences is essential. For this it is necessary to create ICT tools based on innovative strategies to promote clean transport based on rewarding mechanisms that can encourage sustainable travel choices.

In addition, current data acquisition and distribution strategies, based on centralised authorities, need to evolve towards distributed federated infrastructures whereby, through open architectures, providers can expose their services and benefit from those available within the infrastructure.

Finally, the increasing availability of wireless network connections at urban and regional scale, coupled to the diffusion of smartphones and tablets, set the basic conditions, from the infrastructural point of view, to define a scenario whereby citizens provide information of public interest in real-time, according to their level of trust within a wide user community. This scenario, based on real-time, location-based mobility services, poses severe security and privacy issues due to the traceability of people’s location, interest, actions, travel plans.

i-Tour addresses these issues by setting an open source software infrastructure, made available as toolbox to administrations and public transport providers to provide interoperable provision of real-data and services on a variety of multimodal transport systems.

Desktop and mobile users can consume and produce information on the transport system conditions through i-Tour prototype portal.

Finally, i-Tour defined trustable, secure privacy schemes to ensure the highest level of protection of users’ information.

i-Tour has been conceived to provide an effective answer to promote a more sustainable urban mobility answering to Activity 7.2.3. and specifically addressing the AREA 7.2.3.1 “New transport and mobility concept” topic SST.2008.3.1.2 “Intelligent mobility systems and multi-modal interfaces for transport of passengers”.

The wide availability of consumer navigation technologies together with the ubiquitous availability of wireless networks has created the ideal conditions to maximize the adoption of Location Based Services (LBS) capable of promoting more efficient use of public transport means to which i-Tour will contribute substantially.

This outlook clearly underlines the positive impact that i-Tour will have as it will promote a wide range of LBS specifically addressing the topic of multimodal transport. i-Tour aims at delivering a portable multi-modal mobility system, that can provide citizens with an optimized, safer and updated information within a urban-to-rural scenario, with extensive benefits for residents, as well as with positive impact for tourists.

Additionally, i-Tour focuses on another key topic with potentially very high impact, that is innovative data collection techniques. Within the project, novel data collection techniques were set in place. Cameras installed at bus stops or train platforms are used to detect real-time crowding conditions. Furthermore, citizens are given the chance to become themselves data providers as they are given the ability to upload content into the system (e.g., traffic updates, road works, etc.) using their mobile devices. This leads to a number of important consequences:

first, timely updates and broad coverage of the data held in the system, thus improving the overall end-user experience with the navigation system; second, the transformation of the end-user from passive consumer of information to active producer, thus taking an active role within their community.

With regards to this issue of privacy, i-Tour has a significant impact on treatment of privacy issues related to LBS and mobility systems, with much of the results being shared with the security groups of ETSI's Technical Committee on Intelligent Transport Systems With specific regards to standardisation of security-related issues i-Tour, has played a role in the activities of ETSI ITS, and in the standardization activities of other ETSI groups.

i-Tour inclusive travel information system targets different types of users. Next generation mobility systems will need to offer tailored-made suggestions. With respect to this, i-Tour will have a significant impact as it will support high personalisation of travel options, in order to provide a highly customised (and thus satisfying) travel experience, addressing a wide range of users ranging from young travellers to aged users. i-Tour achieves this goal by developing a recommender system capable of suggesting users the most suitable travel option according to their own preferences and needs.

The underlying assumption is that users who have been likeminded in their past transport preferences, will probably be so in the future; i-Tour thus aims to qualify the “trusted” recommenders, thus generating highly subjective recommendations about public travel options.

Additionally i-Tour boosts a significant impact in terms of efficiency, user friendliness and comprehensiveness of travel information. In fact i-Tour promotes the development of intelligent routing strategies that make use of a wide range of real-time information to create the most suitable travel option according to the user preferences and behavior.

This in turn has potentially a significant impact in terms of overall traffic optimization and transport network load.

Furthermore i-Tour may have a significant impact in terms of promotion of sustainable travel choices. i-Tour clients, in fact, will promote the use of public transport by rising awareness on pollution caused by private transport. This is done by developing user-friendly strategies that are capable to show the tangible effects of sustainable travel choices in terms of reduced pollution, for instance by showing the amount of CO2 saved by opting for public transport. However, i-Tour goes beyond this, by promoting forms of incentives to those citizens opting for sustainable travel behaviors by developing forms of rewards customized according to different user categories (young users may opt for free tunes download whilst elder user may prefer free bus tickets) providing a radical, positive change in the attitude of citizens.

Finally, i-Tour is expected to provide significant results in terms of standardisation and harmonisation of services through development of SDIs (Spatial Data Infrastructures). The project will contribute to exposing harmonised data on public transport network status with significant effects to ongoing EU initiatives, most notably INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe).

Dissemination

Dissemination took place extensively by means of a variety of actions, that can be summarized as follows:

- a project website (http://www.itourproject.com/web/) up to date both in the public and in the private area (documents repository); a LinkedIn discussion group, one YouTube dedicated channel.
- around 85 scientific publications accepted for presentation/publication and/or published
- 7 scientific publications, waiting for the review.
- 5 i-Tour workshop organised and 1 final conference.
- more than 140 events attended, some of them for standardization activities.
- dissemination materials: 7 newsletters, an i-Tour brochure, i-Tour presentation slides.
- three versions of a business plan, submitted for comments to partners and stakeholders.
- a licensing model, submitted for comments to partners and stakeholders.
- 7 Project Stakeholders Board meetings held.

Exploitation:

The exploitation strategy is associated with the overall goal of achieving full and satisfactory fruition of i-Tour by the highest possible number of ultimate users, thus enhancing clean transport based on rewarding mechanisms that can encourage sustainable travel choices. Such goal should be attained with full recovery of costs by the consortium.

The dissemination and exploitation strategy is twofold.

On the one hand, activities will target all potential first peer users, from software industry (particularly SMEs) to public and private urban transport providers, highlighting the advantages and business opportunities of applying the i-Tour platform.

On the other hand, it will target interested academic and industrial entities as well as the open source community and standardization bodies in order to contribute to the diffusion of intelligent transport systems for urban mobility and of the knowledge of the newly developed technology that will have been used. Market analysis and business plan will have a strong interaction with the i-Tour scenarios to ensure both RTD that leads into successful open business models and exploitation of innovative i-Tour solutions to the market.

A go-to-market strategy for i-Tour was envisaged, with alternatives. Such strategy derives from an overall goal of achieving full exploitation of i-Tour by the highest possible number of ultimate users. This goal should be attained with full recovery of costs by the consortium. There are three possible strategies:

1. To market the entire system – server + data exchange interfaces, and provide assistance for system use;
2. To market server access and interface configuration – exclusive and non-exclusive licence, on a territorial base, and provide assistance for system use;
3. To market the system as an app through application stores.

Two alternative configurations have been envisaged:

a) A new company (or entity different from a commercial company) representing the present consortium so as to go to market maintaining capacity and opportunity to manage the innovation process; or
b) A strong partner (or more than one, per each European country or group of EU countries) for industrialisation, placement and assistance

In the course of the third year of the project, the composite hypothesis 3-a has been added to the previously chosen 2-a and 2-b, and all three have been increasingly targeted and quantified. The other three have been outphased as less interesting to the project.

The go-to-market strategy and the overall business model of i-Tour does not set a profitability objective, but rather seeks the attainment of maximum diffusion with full recovery of costs. This also means that break-even has to be achieved as soon as possible.

In cases 2-a and 2-b, the break-even point is attained at around 50 Million population reached (30 metropolitan areas across Europe being involved): this is the result of a sensitivity analysis placing unit royalties at 5 cents and 2 cents per inhabitant, respectively.

In case 3-a, break-even is likely to be attained when purchases top 1,2 million, corresponding to approximately 830,000 users (30 metropolitan areas across Europe being involved).

List of Websites:

http://www.itourproject.com

Coordinator: Pier Carlo Trucco p.trucco@formit.org
Scientific Manager: Daniele Magliocchetti daniele.magliocchetti@graphitech.it
Dissemination Manager: Cristina d'Alessandro c.dalessandro@formit.org


Related information

Contact

Pier Carlo Trucco, (Head of consulting)
Tel.: +39065130301
Fax: +39065137868

Subjects

Transport
Record Number: 141312 / Last updated on: 2014-07-08
Information source: SESAM