Real-time multimodal information for smart phones
Rome’s Mobility Agency created a tool to provide passengers with real-time information via their mobile phones.
Implementing sustainable mobility
As a way of further promoting a modal shift among citizens and tourists towards public transportation, Rome’s public transport operator ATAC explored ways to improve access to mobility information via new media and mobile devices. By providing an online, wireless, multimodal, multilingual information system, ATAC facilitated personalised journey planning and could reach users on the move with information about the most appropriate public transport services.
An interface for mobile devices was developed: the main features for the mobile InfoPoint platform were that it should be multilingual (Italian, English, Spanish, French and German); provide multi-channel access (WAP, i-mode, XHTML); and be accessible by a variety of devices (information customised for each device in terms of layout and dimensions).
ATAC’s mobile service provides:
- bus arrivals times for each bus line at each bus stop, using data generated by automatic vehicle monitoring;
- real-time news on traffic, road works, demonstrations, disruptions and access restrictions;
- traffic bulletins describing traffic conditions by zone;
- estimated journey times on 100 km of main roads in the city;
- a journey planner showing the best routes calculated for public transportation, with an interactive map;
- webcam images showing traffic conditions in four locations (images updated every five seconds);
- information on the availability of shared bikes;
- information on the availability of parking spaces in four city car parks; and
- information and advice on services and relevant contact details.
The number of visitors to ATAC’s website rose by 197 percent between 2002 and 2005. Following the introduction of the wireless system, 10,000 queries per month were performed by mobile users. The success of the measure was based on the efforts made to design a platform capable of delivering information (texts and maps) according to the graphic functionalities of each device, ensuring the most user friendly information for users.