Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Creating a marketplace for mobility applications

The EU-funded ECIM project has developed a cloud-based marketplace where service providers, data providers and developers can co-design and co-create Smart Mobility applications.
Creating  a marketplace for mobility applications
Many citizens are eager to embrace Smart Mobility, which promises to reduce congestion and facilitate faster, greener, and cheaper transportation options. The concept is about allowing seamless, efficient and flexible travel across various modes, such as park & ride schemes and booking a trip involving train, metro and bus.

Accessing mobility services in an integrated manner however can be frustrating as users often have to jump across apps, payment systems and programmes in order to sort out their itinerary. So in order to pull all these pieces of the puzzle together, an EU-funded project combined an existing cloud-based platform with new functionalities.

The result is the ECIM marketplace for transport solutions, which is designed to enable local authorities and businesses to provide seamless online mobility services. ‘’This is more than just another IT platform – it’s a marketplace that facilitates interactions between different stakeholders and customer groups,’ explains ECIM project manager Hugo Kerschot. ‘It is a one-stop-shop where service and data providers and developers can come together to co-design and co-create mobility applications.’

A mobility marketplace

For public administrations, ECIM provides a cloud-based platform to which they can migrate existing transport services, create new ones and provide a marketplace to sell them. Indeed, the marketplace also gives mobility service providers an effective distribution channel, along with the opportunity to enter new markets. For developers, ECIM offers easy access to standardised APIs of different mobility services, some of which can only be found on the ECIM platform.

According to Hugo Kerschot, the mobility marketplace is analogous to common app stores, serving an intermediary role in terms of data/service discovery, subscription, technical interfaces, and contractual, financial and legal agreements. Unlike existing Open Data initiatives, it not only provides data, but also web services and it is this that allows developers to interact with service providers.

The platform creates a set of API format recommendations to increase service interoperability, help developers integrate new services into an app and enable both sides to exploit the cross-border capabilities that ECIM provides.

A collaborative revolution

From this collaborative marketplace new, end-user oriented mobility applications have been launched. For example, one ECIM pilot application tested in Brussels integrated mobility services and data into a single app. ‘Brussels suffers from chronic traffic congestion, with a third of all traffic caused by drivers looking for a parking spot,’ says Hugo Kerschot. ‘This app lets users find the nearest parking spot and pay via a single payment system.’

The app includes a map that displays all available on- and off-street parking in real time, along with information about nearby connecting transport options. The app pulls information from across parking providers and, once parked, the user can pay directly via the app, thus eliminating the need to carry cash. The app also offers such added-value services as points of interests and route suggestions provided by Google Maps.

‘ECIM goes beyond the concept of Open Data and lays the groundwork for Open Services, where an authenticated and authorised developer can consume and monetise public and private services which, up to now, were only available to providers themselves,’ says Hugo Kerschot. ‘The ECIM marketplace brings the app store concept to the mobility domain, giving it the potential to revolutionise the way mobility services are designed and delivered to citizens.’

Related information

Keywords

ECIM, cloud computing, open source, Smart Mobility, mobility services, mobility applications
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