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i-Travel - Service Platform for the Connected Traveller

Final Report Summary - iTravel (i-Travel - Service Platform for the Connected Traveller)

"i-Travel" is an original concept for "the connected traveller" that combines three key innovations:

1. a wide-ranging community of content and service suppliers connect to customers through i-Travel to serve new markets of travellers needing instant delivery of content and trip support
2. the integration of e-commerce and internet technologies to create the first B2B "eMarketplace" in the traffic and travel information services sector.
3. Provides a platform to develop a "virtual travel assistant" service that accompanies a traveller before and throughout each journey, providing personalised, context-aware information and support whenever wherever and however needed.

The i-Travel project was a supporting action funded in part by the Directorate-General Research of the European Commission (EC) and 19 partners from industry, research and public authorities operating in the ITS and travel sectors.

The project was conceived to answer some of the key issues facing travellers and travel service providers today.

While a growing number of online services for travellers are available from an internet terminal, these are mostly poorly integrated and not personalised, almost all are inaccessible to the traveller during the journey itself; and none detects and proactively informs the user of disruptive events relevant to the traveller's specific journey and then proposes appropriate trip options;

Content providers have difficulty to reach out to more than a small number of potential end user customers, while ensuring that their commercial and licensing terms are enforced;

Service providers need to find and negotiate separately with a huge number of potential content providers in order to offer a comprehensive end-to-end service towards travellers.

In the absence of technical and commercial standards, content and service suppliers are obliged to develop proprietary, "vertical" solutions to deliver their products, and then find they are locked into a relatively small proportion of the potential customer base. In addition, the form and content of travel information sources varies widely - these are very difficult in general to integrate.

The i-Travel project that was proposed will build the first steps in realising a platform to support the traveller through every step of their journey and provide relevant contextual information and has identified and outlined the technologies needed to realise this solution, and begin to bring together a supplier community that could deliver these advanced services in pilot-scale demonstrations in a number of European and emerging-market cities.

New technologies are needed to support the traveller services platform and the e-Marketplace. The aim has been to elaborate a platform for the exchange of information between content suppliers and service providers, allowing the provision of context-aware, mobile, on-trip event-based information and trip re-scheduling to travellers. As well as these technologies, organisational models and commercial tools are needed to support the integration of suppliers' and buyers' systems.

After 21 months of research work the project has produced documentation detailing the state of the art in traveller services, the traveller use cases that any implementation of i-Travel would need to support, provided an overview of the business process and architecture options of available to the i-Travel platform and has built a virtual demonstrator which has demonstrated the visual elements of an i-Travel solution, finally the project has produced key recommendations for the future success of the concept.