Intermodal journey planner

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An Intermodal journey planner (IJP), or Trip Planner is computer system which can provide a traveller with an itinerary for an intermodal passenger transport journey. The system can provide timetable, routing and other travel information. A single journey may use a sequence of several modes of transport, meaning that the system must know about public transport services (bus, train, aeroplane, tram, metro) and about transportation networks (roads, footpaths, cycle routes) for private transportation (automobile, walking, bicycle).

Well known examples of such systems are Google Transit (varying coverage around the planet), Rome2rio (world-wide intermodal journey planner with reliable price information) and (for Europe).

Basic features[edit]

Fundamental to an IJP is a journey planner engine with public transport timetable and road routing information and knowledge of the stops and interchanges: it may also be able to supply maps. An IJP will also have one or more user interfaces optimised for different purposes, for example, for online self-service use with a Web browser, for call centre agents, for use on mobile devices, or special interfaces for visually impaired users. An IJP will provide specific journey plans made up of one or more journey legs. It may also support other representations such as full timetables, stop departures boards, etc.

Fully featured IJPs are capable of incorporating real-time information along with the planned timetable, for example to provide live departures from a particular stop, to include incident information about situations that may affect a journey, or to compute journeys that take into account predicted delays, allowing the user to perform journey repair to recover from a disruption to normal services. IJPs may also cover road-real time data and may be considered part of an Intelligent Transportation Systems.

An intermodal journey planner (IJP) calculates the best overall journeys between origin and destination for the user's preferred modes.

Public transport routing[edit]

For public transport routing, the engine will consider journeys that combine different public transport modes, constrained by times of arrival or departure. It may support different optimisations - for example, fastest, least changes, with constraints to go via or to avoid specific way points.

Most engines are not capable of multimodal fare optimisations (e.g. cheapest, or most flexible) but may be able to advise fares for a single mode.

Car routing[edit]

The planning of road legs is usually done by a separate subsystem within an IJP, but may consider both single mode trip calculations (e.g. with private traffic and/or public transport) as well as intermodal scenarios (e.g. Park and Ride, kiss and ride, etc.). Typical optimisations for car routing are shortest route, fastest route, cheapest route and with constraints for specific waypoints.

Some advanced IJPs can take into account average journey times on road sections, or even real-time predicted average journey times on road sections.

Pedestrian routing[edit]

An IJP will be able to provide detailed path routing for pedestrian access to stops, stations, points of interest etc. This will include options to take into account accessibility requirements for different types of user, for example; 'no steps', 'wheelchair access', 'no lifts', etc.

Bicycle routing[edit]

Some IJP systems can calculate bicycle routes, integrating the off-road path network as well as the road network. Advanced systems allow the user to specify preferences for quiet or safe roads and may also support contour optimisation to minimise the effort needed to overcome vertical differences.

User interfaces[edit]

An IJP will typically comprise one or more back-ends (exposed as web services which may be used by different front-end applications which manage interaction with the user). Interaction will be optimised for different types of user and device, for example:

Interactive channels[edit]

  • Online Web Browser
  • Online browser for the Visually Impaired
  • Online mobile Wireless Application Protocol Browser
  • SMS query/response system.
  • Smart Client on a Personal Computer with a LAN or WAN connection
  • Smart Client on a mobile device with an internet connection
  • [Interactive voice] Engine voice recognition and synthesized voice:

Printed output[edit]

IJP may also provide multiple printed output, for example:

  • Personal journey plans
  • Specific Stop Timetables
  • Timetable pages
  • Route Option Maps
  • Local Area Maps

Public transport data[edit]

An IJP integrates a number of different types of data about the planned services for the Public Transport system, including:

  • Information to identify and navigate stop, stations and other transport interchanges.
  • Information about origins and destinations that users may want to travel to and their relation to stops and stations, for example Points of Interest and their access points, Towns and cities.
  • Information about the Topography of a country and its relation to transport systems.
  • Information about the Network topology and the routes and lines.
  • Schedules for different modes of transport
  • Schematic maps of Transport interchanges.
  • Schematic maps of the Transport network.
  • Maps of the country and of the area around stops.
  • Information about facilities at stops and stations.
  • Information about fares, Tariff zones and fare products.
  • Information about the Carbon footprint costs of usage of different modes.

In order to develop data sets that can be integrated economically and robustly, data standards and conceptual models, such as Transmodel are used.

Private transport data[edit]

An IJP also integrates a number of different types of data about the transport networks available for use by private vehicle and pedestrian access,

  • Road transport Network topology.
  • Foot path and Cycle path network topology, with Accessibility information.
  • Bridleway & Cycle path Network topology..
  • Topographical maps.
  • Contour profile data.
  • Information about facilities for the motorist.
  • Information speed restrictions.
  • Information about road works and disruptions.
  • Information about average journey times
  • Information about fuel usage.
  • Information about the Carbon footprint of usage of different vehicle types

Real-time data[edit]

Advanced IJP engines are capable of integrating Real-time Information into their computations. This may be of two main types

Real-time prediction information[edit]

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) Systems know the actual position of their vehicles compared to the timetable and can pass on the real-time and forecast information to the IJP system. The IJP engine incorporates this up-to-date information into its database and considers it in all requests. Based on this information IJP is able to indicate the punctuality or delays for each mode of transport in a departure monitor. An IJP will use a real time interface such as Service Interface for Real Time Information to obtain this data.

Real time Road Information may come from systems such as UTMC

Situation information[edit]

A Situation is a software representation of an Incident (for example security alert, cancellation or bad weather) or Event that is affecting or is likely to affect the transport network. An IJP can integrate Situation information and use it both to revise its journey planning computations and to annotate its responses so as to inform users through both text and map representations. An IJP will typically use a standard interface such as SIRI, TPEG or DATEX II to obtain Situation information.

Incidents are captured through an Incident Capturing System (ICS) by different operators and stakeholders, for example in Transport Operator Control Rooms, by broadcasters or by the emergency services. Text and image information can be combined with the trip result. Recent incidents can be considered within the routing as well as visualized in an interactive map.

See also[edit]

Examples of IJP systems[edit]

Large scale Examples of IJP systems include

  • Onlymoov [1], Grand Lyon (FRANCE), using real time IJP made by Cityway,
  • Triplinx [2], Grand Toronto (CANADA), using Cityway's IJP,
  • TripGo [3], Trip planner covering 120 cities. Urban & intercity trips. Specialises in finding optimum interchanges between public and private transport.
  • Reisauskunft by Deutsche Bahn- using the IJP of Hacon
  • A-Train for Atlanta, GA - using Open Source called Five Points
  • Transport for London - using the IJP by Mentz Datenverarbeitung GmbH
  • UK Regional Traveline - using the IJP's of Trapeze Group, JourneyPlan and Mentz Datenverarbeitung
  • [4] is an IJP for planning trips across Finland - using IPJ by Logica
  • Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council maintains an IJP for planning trips around the Finnish capital and surrounding areas [5] - using IPJ by Logica
  • OV9292 for the Netherlands [6]
  • ResRobot covering the whole Sweden [7]
  • [8] in Stockholm compares public transport, car, bike, walk and combinations in one search.
  • Networked Traveler (Path2go) [9], a real-time multimodal traveler information system, supporting driving, driving-to-transit, transit and bicycling for the San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States. Developed by the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Regional wide IJP: Tuscany Region IJP [10], and Marche Region IJP [11] are examples of integrated multimodal and multi-operator IJP
  • National wide long distance JP: [12] is an example of JP / booking platform to travel long distances across Italy and Europe.
  • routeRANK [13] finds and compares in one view travel routes worldwide but mostly in Europe and North America in plane, train, car and other options.
  • [14] finds all nearby airports in US, and provides routes that combine flight, car and other modes of travel.

Some of these systems are based on open source applications