Original article from UIC.org.

The workshop was held in the afternoon of 23 November 2022 at UIC HQ in Paris, with 40 participants joining either in-person or online.

The RIDE2RAIL coordinator, Giuseppe Rizzi, from UITP, presented an overview of the European RIDE2RAIL project and its objectives to optimise connections between flexible carpooling transport and scheduled transport such as trains, buses or the underground, as a complement to public transport. The RIDE2RAIL project was established under the Shift2Rail umbrella which promotes the competitiveness of the European rail industry and responds to changing transport needs within the EU.

Giuseppe presented 4 of RIDE2RAIL’s objectives:

  • To increase the number of passengers using public transport
  • To improve rail links to rural areas
  • To minimise environmental pollution when travelling
  • To provide additional criteria for informed decision-making when planning a trip.

He also said that specific performance indicators are being monitored regarding on-demand carpooling, ride hailing and car sharing.

Cristian Consonni, from Eurecat, then detailed five software modules used at the RIDE2RAIL demo sites: an offer categoriser, preference learning and offer ranking, an incentive provider, a crowd-based travel expert, an driver companion application and agreement ledger.

External data is used to calculate a trip score in 11 categories (speed, reliability, price, comfort, door-to-door, sustainability, distance, multi-tasking, cooperation, overview, health) which optimises the journey on offer. The software then learns from the user’s explicit and implicit preferences.

Three different incentives are added to the results and scores:

  1. A free train class upgrade for a future trip
  2. A 10% discount on a train ticket for a future trip
  3. A 20% discount on a train ticket for a future trip

The crowd-based companion publishes the journeys offered by the driver and the passenger companion then shows all multimodal combinations.

The agreement registry allows the use of smart contracts (blockchain) and an OpenAPI interface to access the chain.

Christian finished his presentation by describing all the steps and components needed when the traveller and the driver choose undertake a journey together.

The 3rd presentation was made by Marco Ferreira, from Thales Portugal. He presented the Personal Travel Companion application and IP4 ecosystem details which provide an interoperability framework helping multimodality.

This framework ontology (TRIAS, Transmodel, and OSDM) supports three bricks which allow the travel companion to deliver travel solutions, with different functionalities developed for travellers (commuter detection, collaborative space, dynamic display…) and for operators (operator portal, traveller planning & supervision, SaaS services…).

Following these technical IT presentations, the four Ride2Rail demo sites gave their feedback.
Annie Kortsari, from CERTH/HIT, presented the feedback for the Athens R2R demo which took place in July and August 2022.

They tested:

  • The “Travel Companion” and the “Driver Companion” applications
  • The features integrated in the “Travel Companion” application such as an offer categorizer, matcher and ranker, an agreement ledger, incentive provider, and crowd-based TSP.

Then, Eetu Rutanen, from Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences presented the Helsinki RIDE2RAIL Travel Companion test results, which took place over 2 weeks with a test group of 20 people in September and November 2022.

They used the automated shuttle bus, Robobus, as part of a multimodal last-mile journey. 1100 passengers used this service and over 2000 kilometres were driven. The bus operated within mixed traffic and used public road vehicle lanes. The test’s challenges and resulting recommendations were also presented.

Petra Juránková, from the OLTIS Group, then discussed the feedback from the RIDE2RAIL pilots conducted in Brno, Czech Republic, from 31 October to 13 November 2022.

They tested the Travel Companion and Driver Companion with 60 people (5 drivers, 40 passengers, and 15 who were both passengers and drivers) on 1946 trips. Recommendations will be made by analysing complete surveys, daily passenger reports and daily driver reports.

Finally, Emiliano Altobelli, from FS Technology, presented the plan for the Padua pilot phase which will take place over 3 weeks in March 2023.

The workshop established the EU Shift2Rail RIDE2RAIL project’s achievements, with its various efficient pieces of software now being available and their deployment being carried out in three large European cities for multimodal transport.

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