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Optimise Citizen Mobility and Freight Management in Urban Environments

Final Report Summary - OPTICITIES (Optimise Citizen Mobility and Freight Management in Urban Environments)

Executive Summary:
OPTICITIES is an innovation project which gathered 6 European cities, companies and research institute to develop and experiment innovative Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) solutions to foster efficient and sustainable urban mobility.
OPTICITIES addresses the whole information value chain on mobility: from data collection to processing up to services’ delivery towards final users including network operators, citizens and freight operators. One of the project’s singularities was based on the cooperation of operators and innovators looking jointly forward to scale up solutions aimed at being implemented and commercialized in a three years horizon. The joint smart urban mobility strategy approach was based on three key components:
- Optimisation of transport networks based on the development of ITS services. These would be supported by integrated multimodal information and transport control tools with increased cooperation between road, public transport, soft modes, new modes systems and services.
- Integration of passenger transport and urban freight approaches.
- Development of an innovation policy in partnership with the private sector. Giving companies the opportunity to develop innovative services for individuals and professionals supports the development of economic models independent from public funding, thus creating value.
The project was implemented between 2013 and 2016, coordinated by the Métropole de Lyon. The technical coordination of the project was carried out by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM).
Project partners included: a) Cities: Madrid, Torino, Gothenburg, Birmingham and Wrocław. b) Industry and services providers: Citiway, Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid, CSI Piemonte, Hacon, ICCA, Neurosft, SPIE, 5T. c) Research academics: UPM, Politecnico di Torino, Chalmers, VEDECOM, CNRS. d) European networks: EUROCITIES, ERTICO, UITP and e) consulting: Algoé, Helmut Berends.
The work during the project was structured according to the vision above, with specific focus on the integrated data collection (both from technical and contractual point of view) and specification stages (the Open ITS approach). Above this consolidated structure, smart urban mobility services were designed, developed and implemented: Decision Support Tools, Multimodal urban Traveller Information Systems and Freight Transportation Systems. These services and the underlying datasets and access points were tested in the different project cities, following the evaluation methodology and mechanism established for each of the services and scenarios.
Achievements of the project include:
- The specification and implementation of an integration platform for different types and sources of public information and road traffic data, and management of road works information, amongst others.
- The specification and implementation of a data collection sub-system which allows to detect and identify vehicle typologies to control freight vehicles at selected points.
- The specification and implementation of a real-time car pooling service based on collaborative information.
- The definition of strategies for the provision of urban mobility data and exchanges between public and private stakeholders.
- The specification of the Urban Multimodal Dataset model and architecture, including the definition of the Urban Mobility Portal access point.
- The completion of a set of recommendation on the deployment aspects relevant for the implementation of the Multimodal Dataset and Mobility Portal.
- The incorporation of OPTICITIES Open ITS ideas into the ongoing work at ISO and CEN standardization bodies.
- The specification and implementation of a traffic prediction tool, which allows the integration of predictive traffic conditions in cities’ traffic management systems. Tested in Birmingham and Lyon.
- The specification and implementation of a graphic-based mobility management, mobility supervision and incident management tool. Tested in Madrid and Torino.
- The specification and implementation of a complete soft-mode priority for public transport management systems. Tested in Göteborg.
- The specification and development of multimodal real-time urban navigators, adapted to the cities, and additionally validating the concepts of the Open ITS Multimodal Dataset. Tested in Torino, Madrid, Göteborg and Lyon.
- The specification and implementation of two interfaces for seamless car-smartphone interconnection. Tested in Lyon.
- The specification and implementation of a dynamic navigation system for dangerous goods and oversized vehicles. Tested in Wrocław.
- The specification and implementation of a decision support tool module for specific freight oriented routes for improved journey time reliability. Tested in Birmingham.
All partners involved actively collaborated in completing all experimentation activities, in the common framework specified in WP6/WP7 in the Evaluation Methodology and Local Experimentation Plans. These were defined early in the project to ensure that there would be enough time to collect data necessary for evaluation. The evaluation focused on the performance and efficiency of the services proposed, and included the stages of pre-trial, in-itinere and post-trial qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.
Finally partners actively promoted the project at EU level through a range of products and events. 14 publicly available Deployment Guidelines have been delivered to support further replication and roll out of the project’s foreground. A Transferability Handbook has been produced to compile this information and ensure large dissemination of key results. A dedicated Stakeholder Forum was initiated on the project website to facilitate access to all strategic contents towards mobility stakeholders. Presentations have been performed at various European and international transport and Smart Cities conferences and relevant events. OPTICITIES also organized a wide range of events inviting external stakeholders to learn about achievement in the project. These included 4 tutorial sessions and 5 study visits, a special interest session linked to the ITS conferences in Bordeaux and Glasgow and a high-level event in Brussels.
Project Context and Objectives:
The challenges faced by cities can be considered as a five-dimension prism:
- Accessibility: thousands of private cars enter European conurbations every day with the saturation phenomenon also extending to several public transport lines.
- The Environment: transport generates 30% of CO2 and micro particles emissions of which 95% come from cars and lorries, thereby creating real problems in terms of public health.
- Quality of life in urban centres (accidents, noise and traffic congestion): there is a need for modal shift from private cars to public transport, soft modes and “shared car” uses. In most cities around 50% of car journeys cover distances of less than 3 km, thus leaving room for improvement.
- Urban freight is a specific stake, particularly with the boom of urban deliveries and the lack of coordination among freight operators. Stakeholders could share the infrastructure and parking space if availability was better managed.
- Public space management: all the above stakes must be managed within the limited public space which is to be shared among different transport modes and other land uses.

OPTICITIES’ vision is to help European cities tackle complex mobility challenges. OPTICITIES intends to optimise urban mobility from a user perspective, serving urban mobility public policy and triggering autonomous information services business models. Thus OPTICITIES develops a vision of optimised urban mobility at the focal point of user needs, urban mobility public policy, and business models of service providers.

The OPTICITIES general objectives are:
• Genuine multimodal solutions. For once ITS solutions will not be a juxtaposition of mono-modal approaches exclusively focused on public transport. Multimodal solutions will be based on reliable data for every mode and combination, with optimised end-user HMI, and will involved the car industry as well as public transport and soft mode actors.
• A contractual framework on data access and exchange policy allowing enlarged access to high quality data. This policy aims at amplifying the development of information services by centralising (or accessing local databases) and disseminating all private and public data available at the scale of the conurbation, in line with urban mobility public policies.
• European interoperability of urban mobility data and mobility solutions. Based on an open ITS system, the standards developed in OPTICITIES will provide cost effective and seamless multimodal services.
• Enhance network operators’ supervision capacity and management efficiency thus allowing for smart and adapted decision making processes.
• Develop, try out and assess high-level innovative multimodal information and transport management services. These services will target transport managers, travellers and freight transport users or fleet managers.
• Enhance users’ accessibility to mobility services through the display of coherent and highly reliable multimodal information.

To meet these objectives, OPTICITIES brings together public transport authorities, universities and private companies, through the following major breakthroughs in terms of innovation:
• Development of a contractual architecture between private and public actors for data access, data exchange and service provision. Public authorities’ requirements, fairminded access to data and autonomous business models will be investigated.
• Consolidation of multiple sources of urban mobility data from all modes (network topology; theoretical, real and predictive schedules). Definition of a European standard for this Multimodal Urban Dataset and its interfaces between public authorities, network managers and service providers. Based on existing standards (Transmodel, SIRI, Netex, IFOPT, Datex II) this newly defined standard will be implemented and tested in every city of the consortium. Trials will notably address the standardised interfaces with several service providers. The work will be undertaken by renowned experts in the field of standardisation and will involve major national actors to reach an agreement on this standard.
• Provision of real-time information for all modes, available anytime, anywhere: the multimodal urban navigator. This smartphone application includes users’ advice on all available mobility solutions, their effectiveness regarding time, money and CO2 emissions. This implies guiding users before and during their trips to facilitate the combination of modes and modal shift. Introduction of real-time and mobile navigation functionality will support incentives to develop new mobility habits and travelling behaviours. Provision of information will help in assisting, reassuring and encouraging users with new mobility usages. Targeting all kind of potential users the service will also provide information to people with reduced mobility.
• Service continuity between in-vehicle navigation system and the multimodal urban navigator. Thanks to cooperation between automotive industry operators, public authorities and service providers, this solution, based on cooperative systems, will propose a seamless travel management solution for the users.
• Optimisation of urban networks exploitation through the development of traffic prediction tools and their integration into traffic management systems. This will allow anticipated predictive travel times across modes and proactive management of traffic lights, based on 1 hour traffic forecast. Congestion situations will be minimised and sometimes even avoided. The gained space will be reallocated to sustainable modes (cycling facilities, sidewalk widening, bus lanes, bicycle parking).
• Integrated multimodal management, through the development of Multimodal Traffic Control System connecting road traffic and public transport data, allowing better allocation of means to support mobility demand. This work includes the combination of Dataset from multiple public transport operators in large cities. The experiment which will be conducted in Madrid with real time information would be a first trial at this scale.
• Optimisation of urban freight management. Combination and processing of real-time data will allow delivery of dedicated information services to help truck drivers and fleet operators optimise their delivery rounds. The objective is to minimise unnecessary travels and connections. Truck-related traffic congestions are generated by dysfunctional delivery practices or inadequate sharing of space (double parking, illegal use of delivery bays).
• Promoting a participative approach with users. Users will be involved in the design and testing phases of the services, especially the urban navigator. Web 2.0 solutions will be tested to offer new mobility solutions such as car-pooling and car sharing, seeking for autonomous business models. Web 2.0 solutions will also be integrated to upgrade information provision through social networks.
• Robust evidence-based assessment of the solutions developed within the project. Evaluation will be integrated all along the project development process, notably involving more than 200 users in the participating cities, thus enabling reliable user feedback.
Project Results:
Technical achievements are numerous and have been completed with the writing of the deployment guidelines for the different assets developed in the project:
- The completion of the implementation and validation at different test-sites of an integrated platform for different types and sources of public information and road traffic data, the management of road works information, and an advanced data collection subsystem which allows to detect and identify vehicle typologies to control freight vehicles at selected points.
- The validation of the specification and implementation of a real-time car-pooling service based on collaborative information.
- The validation of the data exchange profile and supporting standards for the urban mobility dataset and final specification and interoperability tests of the urban mobility portal for complete deployment in Lyon, and partial implementation in Torino and Madrid.
- Continuing the relevant feedback directly into relevant standardisation groups at ISO and CEN working on different areas related with the activities carried out in the project.
- Completion of the implementation and validation of the traffic prediction tool that allows the monitoring and processing of real-time traffic data and simulate scenarios for decision taking support, the implementation and validation of a graphic based mobility management, mobility supervision and incident management tool. Validation carried out in Lyon, Torino, Madrid and Birmingham.
- Completion of the implementation and validation of a complete soft-mode priority for public transport (tram) management system. Validation carried out in Gothenburg.
- Validation of the specification and implementation of an urban multimodal navigator, based on the same data provision API, and tested in different cities. Moreover, a complete implementation of additional potential features: journey assistant, car pooling capabilities, etc.
- Complete implementation and validation of a generic in-car navigation interface, which, based on a minimum data exchange specification between smartphone and vehicle, allows seamless transition from mobile to in-vehicle navigation.
- Integration of freight oriented services in the framework of the urban mobility dataset collection and provision: specific route advices for vehicles carrying dangerous goods or of non-standard dimensions, and a plug-in service for the TMC management and decision support tool system to provide journey time reliability measures for freight vehicles. Validation carried out in Wroclaw and Birmingham.
Potential Impact:
The impacts of all the tools and services developed and experimented within the project have been duly assessed against their performance and the effects on travel behaviours. This notably includes:
• The Decision Support Tool (DST) developed in WP3 for the cities of Birmingham, Gothenburg, Lyon, Madrid and Torino;
• The Multimodal Urban Traveller Information System (TIS) developed in WP4 for the cities of Gothenburg, Lyon, Madrid and Torino;
• The Freight Navigator (FIS) developed in WP5 for the cities of Birmingham and Wroclaw.

The approach used to fulfil the objectives was a mix-method with customized quantitative and qualitative surveys that best suited each tool and city. The selected samples have participated in the three phases of the experimentation (ex-ante, in-itinere and ex-post). The qualitative survey consisted of Focus Group sessions to assess the users’ experience with the tool and their travel behaviour. In these sessions the participants actively contributed to draw the business model that will facilitate the market penetration of the tools developed in the OPTICITIES project. The quantitative survey consisted of one questionnaire that replicates (suited to the after test situation) that administered in the ex-ante phase, in order to enable the comparison.

Conclusions per city:
Lyon / Traffic Prediction Tools
Users were satisfied with the integration of the tool inside the initial traffic regulation system. Functionalities are easy to use and to understand. There is still an amelioration to provide into the traffic prevision. This is currently being done by adding updated traffic data and model configuration adjustment.
Traffic prevision needs to be improved. The following items can help it:
• Add an indicator on prevision quality directly in the user HMI.
• Add "anti-saturation" and "micro regulation” traffic regulation functionalities into the model.
• Improve the modeling of the road network.
• Take into better account the impact of road works on roads traffic capacity.
• Use traffic occupancy value and not only the flow into the model.

Lyon / Traveller Information Services
. If the tool was brought to market in Lyon, it would compete with existing tools, mainly CTW’s OPTYMOD, which provides a similar functional scope. Nevertheless, it is possible that the tool could address additional customers, based on its different user interface design. So, the economic impacts are rated low to medium.
To improve the functionality and quality of journey planner results, additional data, especially real-time Public Transport information should be provided by the GrandLyon data platform via standardized interfaces (e.g. SIRI).

Lyon / Car-smartphone interface
The study has shown that a multi-modal travel planner such as the TIS and its car-Smartphone interconnection can encourage modal shift: it helps the user discover alternative itineraries and as a consequence can reduce private vehicle use. This modal shift is accompanied by an improvement of attitudes towards public transport.
However, the integration of the private car into multi-modal journeys remains a challenge. The main constraints that keep drivers from using multi-modal journeys are the need to carry goods and children (and the related comfort offered by the car for that purpose) and the travel time that is significantly longer. Residents of extra-urban areas request an improved infrastructure allowing for faster multi-modal journeys at any time of the day. They also claimed for improved features of the multi-modal trip planner that would make the service more relevant and useful.
The seamless service offered by the car-Smartphone interconnection was widely appreciated by the users, confirming their interest for a multi-modal travel companion. Yet, significant improvements were required in order to make the system ready for the market. Most importantly, the service should be integrated into a state-of-the-art navigation system. Several shortcomings identified by the users are already addressed by existing technology.

Torino / Mobile navigator
Even though the app was released as a prototype, the results coming out from the focus groups show a possible interest in using such a tool to guarantee social inclusion, especially for people with specific disabilities. Unfortunately, the lack of basic functionalities (as the vocal assistant) made the tool non-testable and not-accessible for people with disabilities like blind people, or aged people who became visually impaired.
Moreover, even if the presence of big bugs made the app only partially accessible, what emerged by the users’ experience is the need to enlarge the territorial coverage of the app. People who live in the countryside are typically most likely to combine different modes of transport to accomplish their travel routine, so they are of course the most interested in a multimodal tool allowing them to access real time information about the transport supply and the best travel solutions.
The presence in the Torino territory of the metropolitan railway system increases the accessibility of the city for (but not only) the metropolitan citizens and the app could be useful to enlarge knowledge about the overall transport network.

Torino / DST
The discussion among the stakeholders both in the focus groups and in the study visit revealed that there is a cost that must be taken into account. This cost is related to the data creation where many − mainly small municipalities − do not have enough staff able to perform this task.
In general it is clear that not much effort will be needed to keep alive the DST; the main effort is related to the data creation that, according to the design of the DST, is up to the data owner. It has emerged that, if the DST becomes a large scale instrument (e.g. regional), some administrations (small municipalities) could face problems related to both the needed human resources and to the competences for data creation. However, there is in the cities an increase of the professional competence in the use of (for example) GIS instruments, and more and more data will be digitalized and geo-localized. This trend suggests that the cost of these activities will be reduced in the short/medium period making easier the use of tools like DST.

Gothenburg / Roadworks management
The new system has resulted in more data and data with higher quality. For instance, in order for the entrepreneurs to submit an application it is necessary to describe the roadworks to be done as objects drawn on a map. Compared with the previous system, this step takes slightly more time to complete. The maps are then used later in the process and will here reduce the time needed to find the place mentioned and to understand the scope of the work that is described.
The cost related to system operation and support is more or less the same as for the previous system. Cost related to development and maintenance is reduced due to an up-to-date IT environment, but there has been a higher total cost during the last year as a result of different development projects. In summary though, at more or less the same cost Gothenburg has today access to more and better information. An investment of 50 000€ per year is estimated to keep the system in phase with IT-development and an additional 20 000€ per year to operate the system, maintenance, etc.

Gothenburg / Integrated soft mode priority
The Soft Modes Priority Tool offers cost savings in almost all areas. For Västtrafik AB, the new Soft Prio System reuses GPS and radio equipment already deployed in the vehicles and the loop modem in the vehicle is removed. This simplifies commissioning and maintenance for Västtrafik AB. The new system is also described as easy to administer but involves more departments at Västtrafik which possibly could increase the administration costs compared to the old system. For Trafikkontoret, the Soft Prio System uses radio communication instead of loop communication. The loops are removed and a radio receiver is installed. This simplifies commissioning and maintenance for Trafikkontoret. (cf. D3.3.2. Deployment Guidelines).
Additional cost reductions are due to the fact that there is no longer a need for construction work to put in detectors in the ground in order to set up the system. According to the interviews conducted prior to the introduction of the Soft Modes Priority Tool, the cost to place detectors in the ground was approximately 100.000 SEK for one intersection. The savings for installing the Soft Modes Priority solution could, according to ex-post interviewees, be as much as 75%, the main difference being the eliminated need for digging, channelization for loop connection and on-site equipment.
When fully developed and deployed, the automated tram switch assist function will assist the tram driver by routing through the network (cf. D3.3.2. Deployment Guideline). This will minimize the cognitive load of the driver, who today needs to perform choices with correct timing to set the switches. This in turn is expected to lower the number of manual switching tasks (and as a consequence minimize work hazard and minimize delays), which is the main KPI for the efficiency of the tram system.

Gothenburg / Multimodal Urban Navigator
The Smartmoov app has been developed in order for Gothenburg City to offer city citizens 'neutral' information on multimodal travel and to stimulate a shift from more energy demanding to less energy demanding modes of transport, in particular to cycling and walking. Offering a neutral, non-commercial, app is important for Gothenburg City and offers a value in itself, for instance in terms of good will ('Gothenburg City is a city that offers citizens and visitors reliable travel information') and image ('Gothenburg City offers unbiased travel information').
If the result of an app that offers multimodal information is a reduction in (primarily) private car use, and an increase in cycling and walking, the impacts can be a reduced need for parking places; better land use; less congestion; reduction in emissions; and a better city sound-scape. Based on the result of the trial, no effect on travel behaviour can be observed which means that the environmental impacts are zero. This is, however, a narrow perspective of the effects of travel information and travel information services. Several studies have shown how access to information in terms of real-time information, travel planner information, etc. improves the perceived quality of public transport. Hence, information can contribute to people remaining as public transport users – provided a good public transport system. Other studies have shown that information is an important part of a sustainable transport system including also other measures, such as improved cycling and walking routes, soft modes priority, etc.

Birmingham / DST
At the current stage of DST development, it is not possible to provide an accurate cost benefit analysis as the DST is in beta format and requires (limited) further development to take it to market as a commercial product. This process is in the domain of the commercial supplier/owner of the product and the main changes required relate to improvements to the user interface.
Whilst the focus has been to establish the DST and traffic prediction elements of the project this subsequently leads to determining traffic management strategies and interventions in response to the alerts generated. Constructing responses to DST alerts requires a significant level of expertise and knowledge of the urban road network to determine the strategic response required and this takes time, effort and experimentation and this too must be taken into consideration within the overall scope of deployment.

Birmingham / Freight Journey Time reliability & driver assist
The results and output from the data analysis have particular relevance to traffic operators as the consistency of journey times allows traffic management to be planned ahead. This is an area for further exploration and development however, this must be weighed up against the cost of congestion in the surrounding area.
Additionally, the WiFi data source provides an insight into the performance of individual junctions within the same road, which is evidenced by the wide variation in traffic speeds and times between junctions. Using a combination of Argonaut and WiFi insights could be used to better manage network performance and incidents and this too is an area for further development.
Equally this data has particular relevance to the road user and, in this instance the focus has been on the freight driver. Our ultimate aim is to influence driver behaviour and provide journey time reliability as demonstrated by the prototype river Assist App. This is an area for further development and exploitation with App developers based on a commercial relationship.

Madrid / Graphical Incident Management Tool
During the experimentation period, all the features have been tested and used on a pilot version. During this period, some important changes on the daily operation of CITRAM operators have been detected. The main improvements highlighted by the users of the tool are the following:
­ Thanks to the development of IDM operators can inform the PT users affected by any kind of event or incident more quickly;
­ They can manage and solve more quickly any incident;
­ Improvement of the capacity of CITRAM as coordinator of incidents related to PT that affect more than one mode of transport;
­ More efficiency in the communication among all the control centres that take part on the incident management.

Madrid / Journey Assistant
Economic impacts due to the usage of the tool are concentrated in time savings for the final users. The app has more than 200.000 downloads combining Google Play and Apple App Store. Time savings in average for the most frequent trip are not big as the users already know their route. In this sense the largest time savings come from reduced waiting time, mostly in the metropolitan buses. Regarding occasional trips time savings can be more substantial.
We have come to estimate time savings per user thanks to the use of the app to be in average 15 minutes per week. Also in a further step, and once the App is optimized, a higher economic impact can be reached through the improvements in the users’ itineraries. Social impacts due to the usage of the tool can be reduced to an improved perception of Madrid’s public transport system.

Wroclaw / Freight Information Services
After the results observed during the test, it is possible to state that a full operational tool could have the following positive impacts:
­ Travel time reduction – thanks to the tool the driver can reach faster the destination point by avoiding obstacles and perturbations;
­ Fuel consumption reduction – thanks to the potentiality of the tool to make the trips more smooth there is a possibility to reduce fuel consumption;
­ Emission reduction – thanks to the avoidance of perturbations and obstacles along the trip there is previewed that the tool will allow some emission reductions;
­ Travel safety – thanks to the precise information of the road limitation (capacity, bridge height, etc.) the drivers avoid potential danger situations.

In the meantime, the following communication and dissemination activities have been conducted:
- Organisation of 4 tutorial sessions for external stakeholders: Bordeaux (4 October 2015, linked to ITS World Conference), Madrid (27-28 April 2016), Glasgow (8 June 2016, linked to ITS Conference) and Brussels (12 October 2016).
- Organisation of 5 study visits for external stakeholders: Lyon (10 March 2016), Madrid (27-28 April 2016), Birmingham (13 July 2016), Torino (20 October 2016) and Gothenburg (27 October 2017).
- A high-level press conference combined with a live demonstration of the interconnection between the OPTICITIES multimodal app and in-car navigation linked to the OPTICITIES Final Assembly in Lyon (29 September 2016).
- A high-level lunch debate combined in Brussels with a live demonstration of the interconnection between the OPTICITIES multimodal app and in-car navigation (10 October 2016).
- Presentation of OPTICITIES at a wide range of EU conferences on ITS, sustainable transport and smart cities via presentations and distribution of leaflets.
- Frequent updates on the OPTICITIES website and social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Youtube.
- Articles published in major European newspapers (La Stampa, The Guardian) and magazines (Cities Today, Thinking Cities).
- Production, publication and promotion of 16 project videos, including final project video.
- Publication of 6 digital newsletters.
- Digital publication and promotion of Deployment Guidelines via OPTICITIES stakeholder forum (ongoing from May 2015 until October 2016).
- Publication and distribution of the OPTICITIES final handbook (October 2016).
- Permanent representation on the Smart Cities & Communities European Innovation Partnership through the Action Cluster Initiative on New Mobility Services.
List of Websites:
www.opticities.com