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How to build apps that keep travellers posted

Trip Monitoring: follow up advance planning with real time traffic updates

No surprises and real time the most efficient route. Who wouldn’t want that? Planning a trip in time often causes frustration due to unexpected changes and delays that occur when the journey is taking place. As the on-demand economy is growing, so are customer expectations. Therefore we’ve asked ourselves how we could enable app builders to create smart journey planners. Apps that will notify travellers on instant changes. Let us introduce ‘Trip Monitoring’ to you!

A new real time layer in a need-based stack

The open source toolkit OpenTripPlanner enables service and app providers to create multimodal journey planning applications. The toolkit is connecting an information chain that consists out of several layers, the so called ‘stack model’. The needs and purposes the providers address can vary, but they are all depending on the same information chain. By constructing the layers out of separate components it becomes easier to connect the needs of targeted end-users. One of those needs is real time notifications of changing circumstances. In a world where everything and everyone is always on the move, travellers need automated updates immediately after they occur in order to become agile.

The frustration on public transport is often not caused by trains running late or bus cancellations; people understand that these things can happen. The annoyance is caused by not knowing on time; people want to be informed about what has changed and what the next best options are.

“The trip monitoring technology provides developers with a tool that adds a subscription feature to a journey planner. This means that end-users can subscribe to updates on relevant changes in their trips.” – Jasper Hartong

Facilitating a customer centric approach

People expect more and more automated real time services, that helps them to respond timely on any change that comes their way. Most trips are made by commuters. All they want is to be at work on time and go home as fast as possible at the end of the day. They know their route, so mostly do not check for delays upfront. In practise public transport is mostly tuned to the capabilities of the transport companies, not so much to the needs of the users. Dependencies you can’t influence easily, unfortunately. But accurate and timely updates on changes that prevent or limit delays, can change people’s experience!

Providing insights in traveller flows

Another huge advantage is that with the subscriptions on the trip notifications, organisations get better insights on the expected traveller flows. Connecting Trip Monitoring with a tool that can chart passenger flows would provide these insights. This enables organisations to steer the crowd and spread the multitude.

Take for example Amsterdam Arena, with its huge amount of visitors during soccer games or concerts. Recently they used Trip Monitoring on their website to facilitate the visitors that came by public transport to the Toppers concert, but to also gain crowd control.

And with all the smart developers on this planet, would it be really far-fetched if this could also be implemented for people that travel by car? We think not! For the safety of enthusiastic fans on the verge of being late for their idol’s concert, it would be great if we could prevent the commotion that took place in the run-up to a Coldplay concert:

 

So, enough cool stuff to develop with this new feature. We are curious about your ideas! Will you share them with us?

For developers

The Trip Monitoring feature (beta) has been developed as a joint-effort of West IT and Calendar42 . It is available in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) mode through the Planner API. Would like to use the Planner API? Check it out here!

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