10 of the best travel apps that you'll actually use: part two | Travel | The Guardian
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This is more challenging for modes such as bus and coach, where there tend to a large number of small operators than for rail, which typically involves only a few large operators who have exchange formats and processes already in place in order to operate their networks. In Europe, which has a dense and sophisticated public transport network, the CEN [[Transmodel] Transmodel reference model for Public Transport] was developed to support the process of creating and harmonising standard formats at both a national and international level.
Distributed journey planners[ edit ] In the s, Several major projects developed distributed trip planning architectures to allow the federation of separate trip planners each covering a specific area to create a composite engine covering a very large area.
The UK Transport Direct Portal launched in by the UK Department of Transport, used the JourneyWeb protocol to link eight separate regional engines covering data from local transport authorities in England, Scotland and Wales as a unified engine.
The portal integrated both road and public transport planners allowing a comparison between modes of travel times, C02 footprint etc. The German Delfi  project developed a distributed trip planning architecture used to federate the German regional planners, launched as a prototype in The European  EU Spirit project developed a long distance trip planner between a number of different European regions Second generation Internet systems[ edit ] Public Transport trip planners proved to be immensely popular for example by Deutsche Bahn was already sustaining  2.
The ability to purchase tickets for travel for the journeys found has further increased the utility and popularity of the sites; early implementations such as the UK's Trainline offered delivery of tickets by mail; this has been complemented in most European countries by self-service print and mobile fulfillment methods.
Internet trip planners now constitute a primary sales channel for most rail and air transport operators. Google started to add trip planning capabilities to its product set with a version of Google Transit incovering trips in the Portland region, as described by the TriMet agency manager  Bibiana McHugh.
This led to the development of the General Transit Feed Specification GTFSa format for collecting transit data for use in trip planners that has been highly influential in developing an ecosystem of PT data feeds covering many different countries.
The successful uptake of GTFS as an available output format by large operators in many countries has allowed Google to extend its trip planner coverage to many more regions around the world. The Google Transit trip planning capabilities were integrated into the Google Map product in Further evolution of trip planning engines has seen the integration of real time data so that trip plans for the immediate future take into account real time delays and disruptions.
Also significant has been the integration of other types of data into the trip planning results such as disruption notices, crowding levels, Co2 costs, etc.
The trip planners of some major metropolitan cities such as the Transport for London trip planner have the ability to dynamically suspend individual stations and whole lines so that modified trip plans are produced during major disruptions that omit the unavailable parts of the network.
Another development has been the addition of accessibility data and the ability for algorithms to optimise plans to take into account the requirements of specific disabilities such as wheelchair access. For the London Olympics, an enhanced London trip planner was created that allowed the proposed trip results to be biased to manage available capacity across different routes, spreading traffic to less congested routes.
Another innovation was the detailed modelling of all the access paths into and out of every Olympic venue, from PT stop to individual arena entrance with predicted and actual queueing times to allow for security checks and other delays being factored into the recommended travel times.
An initiative to develop an open source trip planner, the  Open Trip Planner was seeded by Portland, Oregon's transit agency TriMet in and developed with the participation of agencies and operators in the USA and Europe; a full version 1. Mobile applications[ edit ] The usability of mobile internet trip planners was transformed by the launch of the Apple iPhone in The iPhone and similar smartphone such as Android allowed more intelligence to be placed in the client as well offering a larger format and maps and so much more usable interfaces could be created.
The incorporation of the current spatial location from the mobile device's GPS also simplified some interactions.
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The first iPhone App for UK rail trip planning was launched by UK Startup Kizoom Ltd in and a large market for trip planning and travel information applications has subsequently developed around the world, with applications being provided both by transport operators and third parties. In the UK this was greatly facilitated by the open data policy of Transport for London which made its trip planning engine and other data feeds available to third party developers.
Advanced mobile applications such as Citymapper now integrate multiple types of data feed including trip planning for cities in every continent and give the user a uniform interface regardless of the country or city they are in.
Mobility-as-a-Service[ edit ] When bookings and payments are added to a mobile trip planner app, then the result is considered Mobility as a Service. Mode-specific considerations[ edit ] Public transport routing[ edit ] For public transport routing the trip planner is constrained by times of arrival or departure. It may also support different optimisation criteria — for example, fastest route, fewest changes, most accessible.
Optimisation by price cheapest, "most flexible fare, etc. For long distance rail and air trip planning, where price is a significant consideration in price optimising trip planners may suggest the cheapest dates to travel for customers are flexible as to travel time. Car routing[ edit ] The planning of road legs is sometimes done by a separate subsystem within a journey planner, but may consider both single mode trip calculations as well as intermodal scenarios e.
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Park and Ridekiss and rideetc. Typical optimisations for car routing are shortest route, fastest route, cheapest route and with constraints for specific waypoints.
Some advanced journey planners can take into account average journey times on road sections, or even real-time predicted average journey times on road sections. Pedestrian routing[ edit ] A journey planner will ideally provide detailed routing for pedestrian access to stops, stations, points of interest etc.
This will include options to take into account accessibility requirements for different types of users, for example; 'no steps', 'wheelchair access', 'no lifts', etc. Bicycle routing[ edit ] Some journey planning systems can calculate bicycle routes,  integrating all paths accessible by bicycle and often including additional information like topography, traffic, on-street cycling infrastructure, etc.
These systems assume, or allow the user to specify, preferences for quiet or safe roads, minimal elevation change, bicycle lanesetc. Data requirements[ edit ] Trip planners depend on a number of different types of data and the quality and extent of this data limits their capability.
Some trip planners integrate many different kinds of data from numerous sources. Others may work with one mode only, such as flight itineraries between airports, or using only addresses and the street network for driving directions.
Contextual data[ edit ] Point of interest data[ edit ] Passengers don't travel because they want to go to a particular station or stop, but because they want to go some destination of interest, such as a sports arena, tourist attraction, shopping centre, park, law court, etc. Many trip planners allow users to look for such "Points of interest", either by name or by category museum, stadium, prison, etc.
Data sets of systematically named, geocoded and categorized popular destinations can be obtained commercially, for example, The UK PointX  data set, or derived from opensource data sets such as Open Street Map. Major operators such as Transport for London or National Rail have historically had well developed sets of such data for use in their Customer Call centres, along with information on the links to the nearest stops.
For points of interest that cover a large area, such as parks, country houses or stadia, a precise geocoding of the entrances is important. Gazetteer data[ edit ] Trip planning user interfaces can be made more usable by integration of Gazetteer data. This can be associated with stops to assist with stop finding in particular, for example for disambiguation; there are 33 places named Newport in the US and 14 in the UK - a Gazetteer can be used tops distinguish which is which and also in some cases to indicate the relationship of transport interchanges with towns and urban centres that passengers are trying to reach - for example only one of London's five or so Airports is actually in London.
Data for this purpose typically comes from additional layers in a map data set such as that provided by EsriOrdnance SurveyNavtechor specific data sets such as the UK National Public Transport Gazetteer.
Road data[ edit ] Road network data[ edit ] Road trip planners, sometimes referred to as route planners, use street and footpath network data to compute a route using simply the network connectivity i.
The fundamental representation is a graph of nodes and edges i. The data may be further annotated to assist trip planning for different modes; Road data may be characterised by road type highway, major road, minor road, track, etc.
Footpath data may be annotated with accessibility characteristics such as steps, lifts, wheelchair access, ramps, etc.
Real-time data for roads[ edit ] Advanced road trip planners take into account the real-time state of the network. Situation datawhich described the incidents, events and planned roadworks in a structured form that can be related to the network; this is used to decorate trip plans and road maps to show current bottlenecks and incident locations. Link traffic flow datawhich gives a quantitative measurement of the current flow on each link of the network that is monitored; this can be used to take actual current conditions into account when computing predicted journey times.
Public transport data[ edit ] Stop data[ edit ] The location and identity of Public transport access points such as bus, tram and coach stops, stations, airports, ferry landing and ports are fundamental to trip planning and a stop data set is an essential layer of the transport data infrastructure. In order to integrate stops with spatial searches and road routing engines they are geocoded. In order to integrate them with the timetables and routes they are given a unique identifier within the transport network.
In order to be recognizable to passengers they are given official names and may also have a public short code for example the three letter IATA codes for airports to use in interfaces.
Historically, different operators quite often used a different identifier for the same stop and stop numbers were not unique within a country or even a region.
Public transport network topology data[ edit ] For public transport networks with a very high frequency of service, such as urban metro cities and inner city bus services, the topology of the network can also be used for route planning, with an average interval being assumed rather than specific departure times. Data on the routes of trains and buses is also useful for providing visualisation of results, for example, to plot the route of a train on a map. Historically rail data has been widely available in national formats, and many countries also have bus and other mode data in national formats such as VDV GermanyTransXChange UK and Neptune France.
To allow a route to be projected onto a map, GTFS allows the specification of a simple shape plot; whilst Transmodel based standards such as CEN NeTExTransXChange additionally allow a more detailed representation which can recognize the constituent links and distinguish several different semantic layers.
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Automatic vehicle location AVL systems  monitor the position of vehicles using GPS systems and can pass on real-time and forecast information to the journey planning system. Situation information[ edit ] A situation is a software representation of an incident[ citation needed ] for example security alert, cancellation or bad weather or event that is affecting or is likely to affect the transport network. A trip planner can integrate situation information and use it both to revise its trip planning computations and to annotate its responses so as to inform users through both text and map representations.
Incidents are captured through an incident capturing system ICS by different operators and stakeholders, for example in transport operator control rooms, by broadcasters or by the emergency services.
Text and image information can be combined with the trip result. Recent incidents can be considered within the routing as well as visualized in an interactive map. Technology[ edit ] Typically journey planners use an efficient in-memory representation of the network and timetable to allow the rapid searching of a large number of paths.
I want to mention something else too- initially a friend had mentioned using Microsoft trips and maps, so I tried that out and it worked for a fee stops, but the morning I stood in the route room trying to route 42 stops which I had never been to, the Microsoft software wouldn't work.
Whether it had an internet connection or not, it couldn't get the job done and route for me. I panicked for a minute until another courier mentioned route4me. Within a minute I was typing in the locations for the stops and amazingly the app routed the entire thing for me in like a second.
I thank their servers for being able to powerfully and quickly come up with an order of stops to run. I know that sometimes it may have you double back, but sometimes there is no other way if there are stops on certain side streets. What it was able to do for me in a pinch was amazing and made me look like I could competently do my job.
If I had to make a single thing that I wish could be changed, it would be this: If I were to type in an address into google maps, upon arriving on the final street of the destination, at the top is displayed the address. This is helpful because if I have stops that I haven't been to ever before and I know that coordinates are not percent accurate if the google maps cartographer was lazy, the it is helpful to see the address that I am looking for as I approach it.
What I find myself doing is having the app route the stops and then open up google maps and type the address in there so that as I arrive to a new location I get to look at the address that I am looking for instead of being shown so coordinates that don't really help me find the address, once I have turned onto the final street that my destination resides.
For what this app has done for me on the fly with my new company is utterly amazing and when I had less than 30 minutes to route a lot of stops, this really saved the day. I have since subscribed until I really learn all of the stops on this route - but even then, I may keep the subscription because random stops can be thrown onto the route on any day and this all drop the stop right into the route.
Steve in Indiana I like this app, Its a great time saver! Insurance guy10 Works great for me! Karlos Ricardo I use this frequently to plot multiple addresses and it works like a charm yyzena It's great. Being a cable installer, I use this app a lot.
Very helpful for door to door delivery drivers Theoo69ooooo Glade to see this Works good. Be nice if it would use it's route rather than the Apple Maps. But this is not necessary. Poolbuilder Excellent It is a great app. I'm using it with my iPhone 5s.
No problems so far. Very efficient in arranging my multiple stop routes.