Back to Top

Mobile travel information

Aalborg

Aalborg developed two mobile phone applications making it easier for public transport users to plan their journeys in the city. The municipality expects that the service will increase user satisfaction and may attract new passengers including tourists who are not familiar with the public transport system.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Aalborg provides mobile phone users with GPS-based real-time passenger information. These services is designed to make people’s journeys as convenient as possible. The system is able to locate nearby transport options and includes links to the national travel planners. The “Take Me Home” applications guides users home by public transport, and the mobile portal NTmobil.dk integrates information on different public transport services.

As part of the CIVITAS I phase, Aalborg already implemented real-time passenger information (RTPI) at some bus stops in the city. This was very popular and is now being developed further. The mobile phone services lets users access RTPI for all stops, also those that have not been equipped with RTPI displays yet.

The main objectives of the measure are to:

  • Increase public transport user satisfaction; and
  • Attract new public transport users.
How did the measure progress?

A mobile phone portal has been developed. Some of the gadgets from Measure 9 (Modernising Travel Information in Aalborg) have been made available in the portal together with other relevant travel information and functions – e.g. the possibility to by SMS bus tickets. The mobile portal NTmobil.dk was launched in August 2010.The public transport authority of North Denmark (NT) keeps logs of the use of the service for evaluation.

Parallel to this work the JAVA based application has been developed in cooperation with the National Journey Planner and released in the start of the reporting period. The mobile application integrates the following functions: GPS based search and presentation of real-time information from the 30 nearest bus stops, Travel planning “from here” based on mobile phone GPS and “Take me home” travel planning based on GPS position as departure and predefined home address as destination. A status end September 2011 showed that more than 3.000 people have downloaded the JAVA application.

To complete the integration a full real-time information interface is established from the NT central system to the National Journey Planner which enables showing actual arrivals and departures for almost all buses in the NT area. The real-time information is based on the onboard computers that also are used in measure 69 for information screens inside the buses (On-trip Bus Traveller Information in Aalborg).

In 2011, NT and the City of Aalborg has conducted a major advertising campaign by using several types of media to inform the passengers on the "Take me home" application. Among others three small YouTube movies showing situations where a GPS-based "take me home" application is very appropriate. These videos are also a part of the content on the Information screens in the buses. After a first campaign they are no longer shown every day but is an important part of the replacement routine to ensure ongoing changes in the screen content.

A JAVA based application requires a download and install of the JAVA application and is thus primarily targeting a certain types of young mobile phones who are used to do so. Via HTML5 it is now being possible to access the mobile phone GPS from the phones browser. NT and Aalborg Kommune has therefore launched a HTML5-version with the same functionality as the JAVA application but directly accessible in a browser from the mobile website, NTmobil. As the JAVA the HTML5-version is also fully integrated with data from the National Journey Planner.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The main conclusions of the evaluation of this measure can be summarised in the following points:

  • By September 2011 the “Take Me Home” Java application had been downloaded 3143 times.
  • Due to technical challenges, user statistics on NT live have not be accessible for this evaluation. In a short period of 12 days during June 2012, the user statistics shows that there are about 425 daily unique users. The average visit is between 3 and 4 minutes, and there have been about 2000 unique visitors.
  • The number of users that know about and use NT Live has increased from 9% in 2009 to 26% in 2012, according the implemented surveys before and after and the number of users that know about but do not use the service have increased from 34% to 47% in the same time period.
  •  

 

Concerning the process the following recommendations can be made:

  • Instead of developing an application or mobile service, the possibility is to release RTPI data via a public API or a XML output. This will make it possible for creative developers to create applications and services that will benefit the public. The downside of this approach is that there is no control of the way data is used and presented and this can lead to errors or mistakes. Another downside is that if you do not have control of where data is used you do not know if changes in the way data is structured will affect applications.
  • In other projects like this, we recommend that the period of time over which the project is developed and implemented is very short. Otherwise, there is a risk that the project is outdated before it is implemented.

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments