CTR staff (John Nelson, Caitlin Cottrill and Steve Wright) will embark on a new 3 year project to develop a new communication network for intelligent mobility, in order to share and integrate car-pooling information with existing transport and mobility information systems.
Public transport + carpooling + social media crowdsourcing = SocialCar
SocialCar is an innovative software and service making urban mobility smarter
“Improvable connectivity”, “optimisable use of available transport resources”, “less susceptible itineraries to public transport disruptions”, “simplifiable travel experience for passengers, “assimilable public and private services” –
this is how the majority of European public transport planners would describe the potential of their local networks. A lot is being done across Europe to forge ahead with modern public transportation, yet, with cities growing in importance by leaps and bounds, their transport networks often fail to stand the pace.
A new trailblazing concept to advance public transport in European cities has come to light. SocialCar is a research and innovation project that seeks to assimilate carpooling into existing mobility systems by means of powerful route planning algorithms and integration of big data from public transport, carpooling and crowd sourcing.
What is really new for citizens?
Meet Clara. Clara is 22 years old student having an ERASMUS semester in Brussels. Being in Brussels for the first time, Clara is looking for convenient and inexpensive commuting options to Université libre de Bruxelles. Recently, Clara read a tweet from her fellow ERASMUS student Anna reporting on traffic disruptions at Avenue de Tervueren. What drew her attention in particular was the hashtag “#SocialCar project”. Clara genned up on SocialCar and decided to try the new service. She opens the SocialCar app and enters her current location, her destination as well as desired departure and arrival time. The app generates multiple integrated multimodal travel options including carpooling, walking and public transport. Eva, a Brussels car pooler, is informed about Clara’s request, and accepts. Before Clara and Eva meet, SocialCar offers them the possibility to see each other’s profile and chat. Before starting the trip, Clara and Eva are updated in real-time about traffic conditions, and they decide to carry on with their travel arrangement. Clara reaches the University conveniently and makes a new friend. Eva receives positive SocialCar feedback points as a sign of Clara’s gratitude. Finally, SocialCar gains a new loyal user who updates her fellow commuters about traffic disruptions and other travel aspects through social media to help the collective efforts of engendering reliable and pleasant city travel experiences for everybody.
The project unites ITS developers, social and economic scientists, transport engineers, carpoolers and public authorities from Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain and Belgium. With a kick-off meeting held on 25-26 June 2015 in Rome, the consortium embarked on joint efforts to exploit the ever growing connectivity of people and objects, the proliferation of internet services, the potential of Future Internet, GNSS and social media. Their mission is to design, develop, test and roll out a service that simplifies the travel experience of citizens in urban and peri-urban areas.
SocialCar will define data processing flows and design algorithms to match travel requests with the integrated public-private transport supply, complemented by a reputation-based mechanism. The partnership will, furthermore, design the architectural and logical framework of the service by using open source software under the GNU General Public License. With all software modules integrated, SocialCar will be tested in 10 European cities.
The project seeks to apply an open access approach to its software components. Offering new business opportunities along with simplified mobility patterns for citizens and urban planners, it is likely that the new concept will grow in popularity and spread throughout Europe. To streamline new city travel business models, the partnership will also offer a business and investment strategy for the implementation of SocialCar systems.
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