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Advanced Travel Companion and Tracking Services

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Increasing the attractiveness of public transportation

The EU-funded ATTRACkTIVE project is developing innovative technologies and integrative solutions to enhance the public transportation experience.

Transport and Mobility

To address the threat of climate change, society is urgently looking for new ways to reduce carbon emissions. With transportation being one of the biggest emitters of carbon gases, many see public transportation as a key sector to target for interventions. For example, rail travel offers a more efficient and sustainable alternative to travelling by car or air. Unfortunately, public transportation suffers from a perception problem. Many travellers see it as a cumbersome means of getting from one point to another requiring an understanding of schedules, making connections, and being left at the mercy of the bus or train being on time. Making public transportation an attractive experience requires innovative technologies and integrative solutions, such as those developed by the EU-funded ATTRACkTIVE project. “To attract users, public transportation must offer customers more intuitive and engaging travel experiences while also protecting them from complicated journeys,” says Mr Achim von der Embse, ATTRACkTIVE project coordinator. “This mean we have to increase the usability of the entire system, strengthening the customer experience, and enhancing user-centric applications.”

Door-to-door travel support

Within the framework of Shift2Rail, an EU initiative to accelerate the advancement of innovative rail solutions, the ATTRACkTIVE project focused on developing and implementing a Tracking Service and Travel Experience solution. The former provides the customer with practical information about their journey, such as potential changes, connection times, alternative routes, etc. The latter enhances the travel experience by, for example, making restaurant recommendations and providing special offers and discounts. “Together, these two systems help deliver door-to-door travel support that encompasses both public and private transportation,” explains von der Embse. “Once fully implemented, they will guide, support, inform and even entertain users throughout their entire journey.”

One app, multiple modes of travel

Both solutions are components of the intuitive Travel Companion, an application currently being piloted, that will serve as an intermediary between the user and travel service providers from across Europe. Users start by entering their intended departure and arrival destinations and times. There are also options to personalise the service, such as setting preferred means of transport and noting mobility restrictions. Next, the app generates a number of itineraries to choose from, each offering a different combination of transport options (i.e. car, rail, plane, rideshare, etc.). Once an itinerary is selected, the user is taken through the booking and payment process, where they need only pay one total amount for the entire journey. During the trip, the Tracking Service sends notifications through the app to remind the user to change services or, if needed, suggest alternative routes. At the same time, the Travel Experience uses location-based information to propose a range of opportunities. For example, if the passenger has a stopover, the app will provide them with a voucher for a coffee from a nearby vendor. “Instead of having to plan each individual step in the journey, the Travel Companion application will do it all from a single interface, even buying and issuing the tickets as well as after-sales services,” says von der Embse. “By simplifying the entire journey, we’re helping position public transportation as an attractive means of travel.”

Keywords

ATTRACkTIVE, public transportation, climate change, carbon emissions, transportation, rail, Shift2Rai

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