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Multimodal journey planner challenge: deadline extended to 15 October

Multimodal journey planner

The deadline for submitting contributions to the multimodal journey planner challenge has been extended to 15 October. Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner responsible for transport, launched the challenge at a conference on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) on 6 June 2011. Although more than 100 journey planners already exist, 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. The public will be invited to vote for their favourite option once the competition has ended.

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European Commission to bring forward new package of measures for ports in 2013

Ship in port

Visiting the port of Rotterdam on 8 September, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport announced his intention to bring forward in 2013 a package of proposals to help ports remain competitive and support the huge potential for growth in the port sector. The Vice President underlined his intention to bring forward measures: to support the reduction of the administrative burden in ports; proposals to improve the transparency of port financing; as well as proposals for measures on port services. EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas commended the Port of Rotterdam for its leadership, high performance and its capacity to adapt to change. However he underlined, the major challenges facing hundreds of seaports across Europe and the need to create the right regulatory conditions to allow ports to thrive.

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New secure truck parking opened on the Russian border with EU support

Siim Kallas

Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for transport, inaugurated on 2 September a secure truck parking in Sillamae/ Estonia near the Russian border crossing point at Narva-Ivangorod. It will take hundreds of trucks which currently have to station for several days off the road leading to the border. The EU co-financed parking will use an electronic reservation and queue control system for the trucks. It provides for rest facilities for truck drivers and enhanced cargo security thus alleviating a difficult environmental and road safety situation in Narva.

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Survey on our website to end at the end of September

Website survey

A survey on the website of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport is set to end at the end of September 2011. The results of this anonymous survey will be used to improve the website by ensuring it offers everything visitors expect from it. Please contribute to its success by taking a few minutes of your time to respond to our questions.

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Background

Multimodal journey planner challenge

Multimodal journey planner

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.

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