Journey Planning

 

The Journey Planner software consists of a range of modules which can be combined or removed depending on the application; making it highly customisable. When stops are known by name, then the journey planner will provide journeys from stop to stop. If stops are geocoded, then the system will automatically look for stops within walking distance of the specified stop, and then use all stops to find the best choice. If geocoded address data is available, then the system will automatically look for all stops within walking distance of the origin and destination and all are considered for journeys taking into account the walking distance. Stop selection can be adjusted or edited by the user. Geocoded and non-geocoded sets of data can be mixed. The Journey Planner will recognise the situation and will offer addresses and stop selections whenever possible. Digital map display is also available.

The modular nature of the system allows modules for basic functions such as trip planning and stop or address selection to be used in many different systems. In addition to the call centre application and the Internet site, OVR in the Netherlands, for example, uses a version to provide a WAP service and a voice response system (using speech recognition for the selection of stops). All systems use the same software for the elementary journey information functions and use exactly the same data feeds. This ensures consistent quality of information for all distribution channels.

In addition to the basic trip planning functionalities the system can display departure lists for stops and provide route overviews given a selected journey. Textual (HTML based) extra information about specific routes or stops is also supported. There are also fare modules available. The most sophisticated fare module can handle both “structured” fares (such as a distance based fare structure) and “unstructured” fares where, for each origin & destination pair, the fares or available tickets can be stored. Fare tables, calculation rules and ticket conditions are all supported. A mix is also possible. Given a multi-operator (or multi-modal) journey, the module can fare the separate parts and provide a complete fare overview and indicate which tickets are valid (using for instance the date and/or time restrictions which can be defined for a ticket). This fares module was fully re-engineered in 2003.

The modular approach provides an excellent basis for extensions. There are current investigations into the use of a route planner module to augment the stop selection process. This module will be used to give information about alternative forms of public transport such as shared taxi services and can also be used to give “park & ride” journeys including a reasonable estimate of the driving time to the park & ride station or stop. Other developments and experiments focus on the use of real-time information.

The Journey Planner can be provided as an open system. An API (Application Program Interface) to the journey information modules is available. This enables clients to have third parties develop other interfaces or even other applications and services using the Journey Planner software as a library.