Multimodal journey planner challenge
Journey planners are not new. They exist on a national and regional level across Europe. However, there are very few real integrated European journey planners – tools that allow Europeans to plan a journey across Europe regardless of the number of countries or transport modes involved. The technology for this already exists and the need is there. Multimodal travel is a key part of the European Commission’s strategy for the future of transport.
Vice-President Kallas, EU Commissioner for transport, therefore laid down the challenge to industry and stakeholders to get Europeans moving differently by developing or submitting ideas for Europe-wide journey planners.
What is the problem with existing journey planners?
Although there are many journey planners out there – a quick survey by the European Commission discovered more than 100 – there is not one yet that allows users to find information or book a ticket for a journey within Europe regardless of the number of countries or transport modes involved. This means planning for a trip is still very time-consuming and inefficient as people will have to use different journey planners depending on where they go or how they travel. This will often mean they are not made aware of all the public transport alternatives that are available. A selection of existing journey planners is available on eujourneyplanner.eu.
What would be the advantages of having a multimodal journey planner?
A multimodal journey planner would include all transport modes and all public transport options. It would be very convenient and fast and allow people to travel in a way that best suits their needs. Some might decide to go for the quickest or cheapest option. But it would also be a possibility to go for a journey that least affects the environment. It would give users all the information they need to plan their journey door to door with a few simple clicks.
If a multimodal journey planner for Europe is such a good idea, how come no-one has done it yet?
Although the technology for creating a truly European multimodal journey planner already exists, other barriers still remain: Not all travel data is widely available. Data is available in different formats, which makes it more difficult to exchange information. The accuracy and completeness of travel information can vary from country to country. There is too little collaboration between different regions and countries
Does this mean that the European Commission will be setting up and operating this journey planner?
No, not at all. We simply want to play our part in making it possible by identifying and removing some of the obstacles involved. This could mean for example facilitating the exchange of data. We have always put people at the heart of our transport policies and this journey planner would be a way of empowering travellers. This smart mobility challenge is simply another way of encouraging organisations and companies to get involved.
Who can participate in the competition?
The competition is primarily for journey planning, travel management and travel operating stakeholders (local authorities, transport organisations, etc.) active in the European Union and for people in the European transport industry as they are more likely to have developed these planners. However, any EU citizen or resident is free to submit an idea. Who will be in the jury? The jury for the best ideas contest will be selected by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport. It will be composed of EU officials and representatives of major ITS stakeholders.