Skip to main content

Open social transport network for urban approach to carpooling

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SocialCar (Open social transport network for urban approach to carpooling)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Current journey planning tools do not provide information for multi-modal journeys connecting individual and collective transport services. Often, the proposed options require multiple public transport interchanges and result in long and convoluted multi-leg journeys. SocialCar enhances the public transport network by a wider variety of services including carpooling/sharing, bike sharing, taxi and other on-demand services. Citizens can gain access to a unique service that optimises the use of all available mobility resources in the sharing economy.
SocialCar develops an IT platform providing planning, booking and payment services for multimodal and multi-service trips and deploys its features via mobile app. By developing data processing flows and algorithms, the project responds to the challenge of matching travel requests with the integrated public-private transport supply. The design of the architectural and logical framework is based on open source software. The user experience is complemented by a reputation-based social mechanism. The SocialCar innovation is twofold: technological (the potential of open data and GNSS, the electronic payment services for transport) and economic (novel mobility service models, public-private partnerships in the passengers' transport domain). With an Innovation Management Board, the project involves external influencers who regularly provide advice and pave the way for a market roll-out and mainstreaming of the developed solutions. SocialCar is a research and innovation action bringing together ITS developers, social and economic scientists, transport engineers, carpooling providers and public authorities from Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain and Belgium. The project solutions will be subjected to a three-level trial in 10 European test sites. The most advanced trial level will examine the potential for early adoption by end-users in 3 cities.
SocialCar main objectives are to reduce travel times and costs, to increase comfort and convenience and contributes to a better environmental performance of urban transport networks. The expected benefits are relating to social inclusion, service orientation for citizens, accessibility of urban areas and transport efficiency. Consequently, SocialCar will contribute to the EU 2020 targets on energy efficiency, in particular to the effort to increase the car occupancy rate to 2,5 person per car when carpooling reaches 30 % share of the passenger's transport practice. SocialCar will alleviate traffic congestion and carbon footprint, reduce the operating costs of individual car-poolers by 50% and increase the share of public transport users up to 6%.
During this reporting period the SocialCar project partners carried out activities according the contract.
The project started by setting up the organisational framework, in terms of working procedures, quality plan, communication and repository tools.
At technical level, the initial activities were carried out for identifying use cases, requirements, data models and algorithms.
While progressing the project activities, the functional and conceptual design were prepared, whose outcomes allowed software development activities.
The system architecture was developed jointly by software architects and final users, the cities, in order to ensure effectiveness while maximising friendliness and usability.
Test plan and evaluation framework were set up, preparing pilot activities while a market framework analysis identified drivers and barriers.
In the second part of this period research and business design activities were carried out supporting SocialCar exploitation ambitions.
The project achieved its initial tangible results:
1. Definition of system design, architecture and most of the algorithms;
2. Release of first prototype of the SocialCar App and the back-end platform;
3. Interactions with external stakeholders:
o innovation management meetings with relevant experts for policy and technical insights;
o consultation group meetings, involving local organisation for political and technical cooperation;
o H2020 ITS group, for joint dissemination activities: SocialCar developed a common gamification product successfully presented in relevant international events;
4. Successful participations to dissemination events and the first project publications issued.
During the next reporting period the project will continue its work, focusing on more operational phase, by deploying test activities in 10 pilot cities, evolving their market and business-related actions.
SocialCar is a clear step beyond state of the art solutions, offering a completely new approach towards urban mobility. Carpooling is considered a critical factor with high growth potential in supporting the reduction of circulating cars within cities.
The basic carpooling concept is moved into a new wider social approach: the foundation and driving force of SocialCar is the concept of virality, where carpooling practices will be spontaneous and easy to organise, with higher chances of finding a ride partner, integrating them with the urban network of public transport.
The SocialCar project already achieved outstanding progresses beyond the state-of-the-art:
• definition of the conceptual architecture of a platform matching travel request with integrated public-private transport supply: this unprecedented architectural model will be reference for future developments of private-public transport IT services;
• development of a new protocol, able to transfer carpooling and public transport data between service providers, enabling significant business potentialities for integrated transport schemes;
• design of innovative B2B and B2C business models, allowing provision of efficient and tailored urban transport services;
• leverage, popularise and mainstream the concept of public-private co-modal urban transport services.

SocialCar aims at achieving the following expected impacts:
1. To unlock the potential of big transport data, deployed within innovative environmentally-friendly mobility solutions, allowing a shift from passive approaches to active crowd-sourcing models.
2. To improve quality of life in urban environments. SocialCar will provide more demand to existing public transport systems increasing by 6% commuting trips, reducing those car-based by 3% and reducing commuting times by 30%.
3. To contribute to EU 2020 targets on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources by reducing CO2 emissions between 3% and 10% with respect to ex-ante baseline scenarios.
4. To improve collective Public Transport usage with an estimated increment of 6%.
5. To reach other relevant environmental and socially targets:
• Supporting 20% of peoples’ mobility choice with increased availability of transport options;
• Increasing citizen quality of life by providing a better level of social inclusion;
• Reducing commuting stress caused by delays and congestion;
• Enabling families to cut back car ownership.
6. SocialCar test sites will allow validation of direct impacts in achieving Transport, Environment, Economy, Society, Energy benefits.
7. To provide significant support to EC policies in achieving the goal of greening economy and society.
SocialCar leaflet