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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR SHIFT TO RAIL

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - IT2RAIL (INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES FOR SHIFT TO RAIL)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

IT2Rail is a first step towards achieving the objectives of Shift2Rail’s 4th Innovation Programme, dedicated to solutions for transport multimodality, seamlessness and sustainability. The overall aim is to provide a new seamless travel experience, giving access to a complete multimodal travel offer which connects the first and last mile to long distance journeys by:

• Transforming global travel interactions into a fully integrated and customised experience;
• Providing a door-to-door (D2D) multi modal travel experience, through services distributed by multiple providers;
• Helping operators to adapt their level of service, better to satisfy customer expectations and optimise their own operations.

IT2Rail, as an initiating ‘lighthouse’ project for IP4, restricts itself to tackling comodality only. The common domains enable it to act as a precursor to later IP4 calls which will also tackle the intermodality flavour. Comodality is where the passenger’s selected travel solution consists of an aggregation of Transport Service Provider (TSP) products/services, but none of the contributing TSPs are aware of the contribution of the others. Therefore multiple ‘tickets’ (transport contracts) are established. Intermodality is where the passenger’s selected travel solution consists of an aggregation of TSP products/services, therefore establishing a single ‘ticket’.

Aside from its exclusive focus on ‘comodality’, IT2Rail’s scope is pitched at a much smaller scale than that of IP4, in line with respective budget allocations and in terms of the following dimensions:
• depth of functionality;
• geographical coverage in terms of passenger-flow ‘corridors’;
• number of transport modes;
• number of transport operators;
• full end to end coverage of travel ‘processes’ i.e. re-accommodation, after-sales transactions and payment/settlement solutions are not tackled in IT2Rail.

The practical objectives of IT2Rail encompass a quick win approach through a concrete integration of preliminary technical demonstrators of the core technologies offered in Shift2Rail IP4. The user-centric use cases have been defined as specific instantiations of the open concepts, which benefit from a completely scalable architecture to be used in IP4. This approach is addressing all the key challenges of the work program, supporting a complete door-to-door multimodal travel offer and proposing a seamless integration of the very diverse existing and future services for planning, one-stop-shop ticketing, and real-time re-accommodation.

Moreover, thanks to an Interoperability framework which insulates travel applications from the standards fragmentation in multimodal transport, IT2Rail liberates business-model innovations in the market-place, guaranteeing the economic self-sustainability of these e-services in the long-term.
To manage the complexity of the development process, the IT2Rail project puts models at the core of the process, to facilitate the collaboration between partners and to foster a common understanding of the system, its functions and components. The Capella tool that has been selected for performing the modelling activities of the IT2Rail system, which serves several purposes:
1. To provide an abstract view of the main functions performed by the system, and of how they are combined to fulfil the goals of the system.
2. To define a set of concepts that are shared among project partners, forming the common knowledge and vocabulary.
3. To give a unitary view of the system, highlighting the different parts and how they interact with each other.
4. To identify the key information flowing through the system and providing the basis for the shared semantics that is at the core of the IT2Rail approach.

The Capella model is not only used in the system design phase, but also for the testing phase. In fact, different scenarios help project partners identify the relevant functions and interactions that need to be tested both separately—when performing unit testing—and in combination with one another—i.e. during the integration testing phase.

The project is divided into three major deliveries of specifications and interfaces across the technical Work Packages (WP1-6), the Core Release (C-REL), the Additional Release (A-REL) and the Final Release (F-REL). These documents allow for each WP to implement their respective internal functional specifications while ensuring that interfaces between each WP are consistent. So far, the C-REL has been successfully delivered and the A-REL is currently being finalised.
The IT2Rail project is aiming at achieving the following impacts:

Impact 1 - Improvement of the economics of the Travel Services Providers and customers ecosystem:

The ecosystem’s economics of Travel Service Providers will benefit by the elimination of the need for any common and scheduled ‘platform’ development. By supporting full semantic interoperability of interchangeable and loosely coupled tools, data and services, within a distributed ‘web of transportation things’, multiple concurrent implementations will be developed independently by specialist suppliers and co-exist competitively. This will apply downward market pressure to the cost of sourcing tools and technologies for travelers, retailers and operators, while allowing them to retain full control of the choice of business models through which to consume or provide value.

Impact 2 - Reduction of the time to market for innovations:

The IT2Rail Project is conceived and scoped to deliver a demonstration of its full set of capabilities on significant realistic use cases within a European multimodal virtual travel corridor. This approach allows for an early discovery of potential technological, organisational or business process issues while at the same time containing the Project’s scope within achievable limits. It will pave the way to a complete set of use cases under Shift2Rail IP4. This approach will significantly reduce the risks of expensive redesign or rework.

Impact 3 - Enrichment of passenger experience:

Below are some examples of how each stakeholders will perceive beneficial impacts thanks to IT2Rail:
i) The traveler is now the owner of all travel information which is stored alongside preferences and payment means in secured cloud wallets. Such information is portable seamlessly between different Travel Companions under the traveler’s full control. The traveler can now experience seamlessness, not only across transport modes but also through interactions with a wealth of different service retailers and operators, whilst receiving automatic notifications of significant events affecting the complete multimodal travel.

ii) The retailer creates and offers smart Travel Companion services, can build more attractive travel solutions tailored to the traveler’s preferences, using its own and/or any other travel planner or other resources available on the web of transport accessed through the interoperability framework.

iii) The operator gains access to the traveler’s identity and preferences, obtains a one-to-one communication channel with the traveler and can address any issues through tailored access to the Travel Companion contents. Operator’s cost in handling multiple fulfilment and/or payment processes and media is reduced. Traveler’s booking information content can be used by the operators through the analytics framework to gain insight on customers, markets and resource utilisation.