Travel behaviour & system requirements for ride-sharing applications: first insights from RIDE2RAIL
What makes travellers choose one mode of transport over the other? What is their attitude towards ride-sharing? And what are the features and requirements to launch a good mobile travel and ride-sharing application? These are some of the questions the Ride2Rail project aims to answer in its task called ‘Travel Behaviour and System Requirements’. The answers to these questions should support the development of a travel/ride-sharing app, which will happen at a later stage in the project. Some interesting results have already been found in the project, read further below!
One result achieved in the Task was a first definition of the three different categories of choice criteria, namely Travel Offer Categories (do travellers choose the cheapest offer, the most environmentally sustainable, or something else?); Contextual Preferences (what do travellers prefer/need when specific conditions occur, such as delays?) and Incentives (how do travellers respond to mechanisms used to influence their travel choices?). More about this can be found in the deliverable D2.1 First Conceptualization of Choice Criteria and Incentives, available on the Ride2Rail website.
To determine the requirements for a travel application, project partners performed a state-of-the-art of existing ride-sharing systems around the world and reviewed their legal frameworks to identify potential barriers for future Ride2Rail solutions. This was done by analyzing 80 publications (i.e., scientific papers and research project deliverables) focused on ride-sharing, plus documentation related to 59 ride-sharing providers. After this, a first conceptualization of the characteristics of ride-sharing travellers and ride-sharing providers has been defined, also focusing on motivations and constraints that users may face when using ride-sharing services. This information will be used to identify current and potential ride-sharing Travel Service Providers (TSPs) and ride-sharing travellers, to be targeted within the context of Ride2Rail.
Also included in this task was the definition of a first set of requirements and specifications for Ride2Rail modules to be designed and implemented when developing the mobile app. This technical work was done by adopting a relatively standard software engineering approach: (i) identification of the external actors with which the Ride2Rail modules will interact; (ii) definition of a set of use cases that provide an initial understanding of the functions to be realised in the project; (iii) extraction from the use cases of a first set of requirements; and finally (iv) design of an initial model of the components to be developed in the project. Moreover, since the implementation of the Ride2Rail modules should rely on (and be integrated into) existing platforms, a preliminary analysis of the feasibility of the integration has been performed with positive results.
After these first activities, the Ride2Rail consortium is now working to validate the conceptualization of travel offer categories, user contextual preferences and incentives, and the recommendations for successful ride-sharing in Shift2Rail IP4.
This validation is based on data collected by asking European travelers about their travel choice criteria and behaviours through two surveys using the Coney toolkit (coney.cefriel.com). While one survey focused on travel-mode choice criteria, the other focused specifically on ride-sharing.
The conversational surveys were launched in 12 different languages (Croatian, Czech, Deutsch, English, Finnish, French, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Ukrainian), and disseminated using different channels (websites, social networks, mailing-lists) to reach as many EU travelers as possible. The administration of the surveys resulted in the collection of 609 and 571 filled questionnaires for the first and the second survey, respectively.
Currently the results of the surveys are being analysed. That means that soon we will know more about travellers’ choice criteria, and their attitudes towards ride-sharing and ride-sharing applications! A deep analysis of the two conversational surveys are included in D2.4 and D2.5 of the Ride2Rail project, to be found in the Library.
All completed project deliverables related to this task can be found in the Ride2Rail Library.