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Our vision on transport information

Travel information isn’t a goal in itself to any traveler, but always a means to an end. An answer to the question, “How, where and when do I get from A to B in time?” Moreover, travellers don’t think in terms of modality or transport planning, but rather in terms of comfort, efficiency, time, money, ease and accessibility. The key is in knowing the traveler’s interests – and those of his environment, family, friends, clubs, society, etc. – concerned with the alternatives he is prepared to consider in getting from A to B.

Trip and travel planning solutions will need to form an ecosystem which supports intelligent social planning, based on the planning of individuals, as well allow groups to collaborate, while taking into account individual context, such as travel time constraints or personal to do’s. The intuitive transport systems of the future will need to offer integration with diverse external services (such as Google, LinkedIn and Facebook) as well as context aware services (such as automated travel planning and hotel and restaurant booking services) and provide this as a platform solution to spawn a wide range of external applications.

In order to succeed, these intuitive systems need to take the end user’s information need as their starting point. Or rather: the declaration of intent. This intent becomes apparent through our behaviours, in the preferences we express and e.g. in the planning of our day’s activities. Systems will need to be able to identify the declaration of intent. In addition, they will need to be able to structure the information request based on a wide array of real-time data sources and actually execute and offer relevant possibilities and options, based on the desired outcome. For example by warning us when our first appointment is cancelled or pushed back and immediately showing our alternative travel options. Or by showing the time-, CO2 emission or financial benefits of travelling by public transport during rush hour as compared to taking the car, if we really need to reach our destination around rush hour.

This is made possible by our being connected continuously with the relevant information, data, organisations and providers we need to make optimal decisions in relation to our needs. In order for this to work, openness and transparency are critical success factors. Openness leads to insight and innovation. Transparency brings a priceless good: control. Control over our own lives, control over our own data, control over our own privacy.

Current developments in information technology, including an unprecedented acceleration in the area of availability of data (open data, big data) and smart and dynamic information, are causing a tectonic shift in the end-user needs. Modern consumers will ask more and more for location based, context aware, proactive, up-to-date, personalised, but most of all decision supporting and unburdening services.

The next step lies in making latent needs and, for example, preferences and tolerances explicit. Along with that, information with regard to (travel) planning will have to be refined further, be of the highest reliability and lead to positive experiences and outcomes. Solutions will have to succeed in combining and reconciling the interests of travellers and their wider environment optimally. Only then will we succeed in sustainably promoting and reinforcing desired behaviour.

In this light it is also critical that information systems continuously adapt to and develop with his dynamic context. A necessary condition for this is that their development is fuelled as richly as possible. This is another reason why openness and Pan-European collaboration and partnering are crucial to his next phase, and why we take open source code as a starting point.

Openness means open source (code), open knowledge, an open community and of course open data. In this spirit Plannerstack has developed and open, multimodal, real-time travel information ‘tool box’. The purpose of this tool box is to enable any and all interested parties to develop and offer plug & play, dynamic and multimodal travel information services and applications. The idea is that collaboration makes innovative developments possible. Co-creation is an important factor to make new solutions possible. The concept is that you have different layers, each of which existing of different building blocks. You can use different combinations of those technologies to create new possibilities, services and solutions. In doing so, the platform  With the Stack-model, Plannerstack aims at preventing everyone from reinventing the wheel and at everyone helping and stimulating each other to raise the bar gradually, and thereby provide increasingly effective and intuitive services to travellers.

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