«Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 Ideas for a European Multi-Modal Journey Planner supporting documentation EANES 2 Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 ...»
European Aggregated Network Solution
Smart Mobility Challenge 2011
Ideas for a European Multi-Modal Journey Planner
Smart Mobility Challenge 2011
We distinguish four stakeholders when considering an european journey planner.
A journey planner serves no purpose without users. What do users want from a journey planner?
Naturally, users want to know how to get from A to B in a cost effective way be it finantial costs, time costs or environmental costs. The tool should be simple to use and the information provided should be complete, accurate, useful and clear. This, however, is not enough. Users want journey planners that help them plan both their daily as well as their leasure travels. They want to arrange all the issues related with their travel in a single location. They want to know which operators are more reliable, which have a better service, what are the extra services available with each operator, and which operator can better take them where they want to go. However, users prefer not to rely on the operators information. They rather prefer to know what other people who actually did the journey have to say. They also want to exchange information on their travels and to share their own opinions.
Transport operators • Operators, want to offer users a better service. To achieve that, they, usually, make their travel information freely available either in their own websites or in other institutions websites (for instance Google Transit). Operators invest on the technological development of their journey planners and rarely obtain suficient return on their investment. This drains resources from their core business and due to the lack of continuous investment, journey planners usually have outdated technologies and information.
Especially with smaller operators. On the other hand, third party institutions are able to succefully value the freely provided information to their own advantage rarely bringing aditional benefits to operators.
Moreover, many operators, especially, small ones and/or operators from poorer european countries will likely not have sufficient resources to maintain an update database of their route information. An european journey planner should ensure that any operator, independently of resources should be integrated.
Finally, to better serve users, operators need to know what users want. They need to know how users find their service, what extra services do users value and in which new routes they need to invest on.
Local and national governments and european institutions • Governments want their citizens to have a good public transportationservice, they want both public and private operators to coordinate their service in order to provide the most effective and efficient travel experience to their customers. Goverments also want to moderate their investments in the transportation sector. National and European economies should be productive as well as environmental and economically sustainable. They want to economically develop local economies, develop tourism and reinforce national and european cohesion.
Ricardo Reis da Silva EANES 3 Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 Advertisers • Advertisers have a permanent need to target consumers. They do that phisically in bus stops and train stations. Those locations, however, are often expensive and forbiden to small businesses. Many local businesses woud like to target consumers only around their street or neighbourhood but advertising only in the local bus stops is either impossible or forbidenly expensive.
Analysis of Strategies We distinguish to type of strategies followed to adress the planning of itineraries. We call them Land journey planners and Air journey planners. The reason for such categorization follows from the approach and philosophy followed by journey planners that focus on buses and trains for instance versus those that focus on plane travels. To design a new journey planner it is worthwhile to understand their main characterístics.
Land journey planners These are typically services offered by the national transportation agencies, by the large public or private transportation companies or by some mixed model. They are, therefore, directly or indirectly funded by public funds. There are exemples, such as the 9292Ov in the Netherlands where the funding from the transportation companies is complemented with that obtained from selling general advertising. These journey planners may or may not be door-to-door and are usually simple services that plan the journey, give information about possible problems and may provide aditional functionalities such as information on CO 2 emissions or some connectivity with mobile phones devices. They are usually available in the language of the country/region they cover although a few have some information also in English and only very few are available in more than two languages. Land transportation journey planners are, therefore, focused on frequent and ocasional national/local users. Ticket purchases are usually not available (some exceptions being train companies and long distance bus services). Additional services such as car rental, holiday packages and others are also not offered. The best examples of these journey planners are the ResRobot in Sweeden, BilRejseplanen in Denmark and Transport Direct in the UK.
Air journey planners The popularization of plane travel led to the more of less recently appearance of good air journey planners. Examples include SkyScanner, Expedia or Ebookers to name a few. Each of these planners have a for-profit business model and allow everyone to plan a plane journey that may include, different stopovers and airlines. Some allow the purchase of tickets while other direct the users to the airlines website where the purchase is finalized. They search for the best price deals and offer aditional service such as hotels bookings, car hires or holiday packages. They are available in multiple languages and are directed to holiday travelers. They are simple to use, load fast are continually providing new options and better services.
The following table summarizes land and air journey planners main characterístics
Final notes Each strategy has a different market visions and target group. While land journey planners focus on providing pratical, daily commuting information, air journey planners focus on holiday travel information.
The development of a european-wide journey planner following the land transportation journey planners model would represent a very large public (EU, governments, etc.) investment. On the other hand, a for-profit/air journey planner approach for a european-wide journey planner would focus on those regions where the demand and thus the profit potential is larger, neglecting the need for journey planners covering less populated areas.
An european-wide journey planner cannot depend solely on the investments made by operators or the public sector. Keeping information structured and updated and using state of the art technology drains resources from other services especially for smaller operators across less developed european regions.
The European Aggregated NEtwork Solution (EANES) journey planner EANES (European Aggregated Network Solution) is an integrated solution to all stakeholders problems. With an innovative business model and a non profit philosophy, EANES aggregates in a single location all network information from bus, train and plane operators but also the available car sharing and self-service rental bikes networks. It merges the land and air approach to journey planning into a third sector, community oriented, useful and multipurpose travel Web2.0 portal.
EANES social business model is designed to create value for all stakeholders as indicated in the following scheme.
Users. For users, EANES is an online portal for both daily and holiday journey planning providing organized and centralized information. It includes not only bus, train and plane networks but also car-sharing options and self-service rental bikes networks. Useful information such as places of interest, museums, restaurants or accomodation will also be offered. In a Web2.0 fashion, users will be given the possibility to generate content to feed the portal. They will review the transport operators they use for their travels, share their travel experiences, share their travel setbacks, answer online surveys etc. They may also register and set up their EANES accounts to save frequently used jouneys. The access to the journey planner and webortal is provided freely over the internet while more complex applications (such as smartphone apps) may be provided at low costs.
Ricardo Reis da Silva EANES 6 Smart Mobility Challenge 2011 Operators. EANES also provides an important service to the operators. Operators database of information is a valuable asset. Individually, that information is largely useless and missmanaged. EANES centralizes and values that information returning part of those revenues to the operators in the form of services. In this way EANES serves as a tecnological and consulting centrum focus on research and development of tecnological tools aimed at helping operators organize information, selling tickets, obtain transportation management software and help cities, regions and countries in their mobility plans. It will also provide operators processed information from users journey searches such as the highests searched journeys or very long changing times so that the operators can adapt their services to better serve their customers. S pecializing in European mobility with an holistic approach, EANES can make use of economies of scale to provide these services and products at low or no costs to the operators. EANES services will evolve with the needs of the operators always aiming to help them improve their service.
Advertisers. Apart from general advertising available at the webpage such banners and M-REC videos, EANES will offer advertisers a channel to target their adds. Shop/company/hotel X located in city Y or even street Z is able to advertise only to those users whose journeys begin/pass/end through city Y or in the surroundings of street Z. The afordibility of this option when compared with other such as local bus stops means that local and small business have access to it.
Local and national governments and european institutions. EANES can help local and national governments to better design their mobility plans and evaluate how they subsidize operators by providing them with agregated user searches and operator reviews. With an holistic approach to European mobility EANES can help local governments to coordinate mobility plans across borders contributing for european's mobility across borders and contributing for european integration.
EANES offers an economically sustainable public service to users and operators. In the spirit of merging the approach from the public land journey planners with the ones from the private for-profit air journey planners, EANES, is a third sector organization. All revenues are thus re-invested in maintaining and updating the platform, in research and development activities, data managment and service support for
operators among others. Funding for EANES will come from a mix of sources:
Advertising. Advertising is an important part of EANES funding. There will be two types of advertising.
General such as MREC videos, banners and others located on the main page but also targeted advertising.
For instance shop/company/hotel X located in city Y or even street Z is able to advertise only to those users whose journeys begin/passes through/ends in city Y or in the surroundings of street Z.
Users. The standard online European journey planner should be freely available for everyone over the internet. Applications that make use of smartphone technology may be downloaded at low costs. Users will also be incited to donate for the platform(crowdfunding).
Public/EU. A journey planner is a public service and should have a public component of funding. EANES will compete with other institutions for governmental and european grants for research and development, mobility as well as other available public funding.
Operators. EANES planner would keep a percentage of the tickets sold through the website. EANES would also be a provider of tecnological services to operators (software, data management, etc.). Some of these services would be provided for free to operators while other would be provided at low costs. By speciallyzing in transportation solutions across europe would allow EANES, and thus the operators to benefit from scale economies keeping costs low.
EANES stands for European Aggregated NEtwork Solution. But it has also another significance. Gil EANES was an european navigator and explorer and the first person to sail beyond Cape Bojador opening up the way for europeans to find new paths to already known destinations. EANES european multimodal journey planner has that same objective: to help europeans discover new ways to travel in europe.
Impact & Acceptance The impact of any European journey planner will be felt in the mobility across Europe. It will, consequently, improve European productivity, it will have a positive impact on the tourism sector not only by improving Europeans internal travels but also by simplifying travel plans for visitors from other countries.
The segment Budget, Youth and Independent Travellers made up of young, environmental conscious and eager for new technological tools will be one of the most impacted. Note that this segment is one of the fast growing tourism segments in the world (UNWTO,2008).
EANES, however, is more than an European multi-modal journey planner and therefore its impact goes beyond planning journeys across Europe more efficiently. EANES will facilitate cooperation between users and operators independently of their economic capacity to impact the transportation industry itself.