Transport infrastructure for a general, transport comprehensive and location-based travel information system

To support travellers (lat. viator) using public transportation, an open, extensible platform for mobile devices has to be developed, guiding travellers location- and context-sensitively on their individual travel routes across transportation companies, and enabling them to produce location-bound user-generated content for other travellers (blind people guide blind people).

Today, travellers are facing a jungle of available systems providing travel information for public transport not offering closed information chains when using various transport providers. Moreover, the provided information is often inadequate, only focusing on arrival and departure times and not considering the processes every traveller has to pass through at the stations (orientation). Especially, handicapped people are requiring a more sophisticated information offer.

The consortium sees the reasons for this deficiency of current travel information systems in their closeness, making it difficult to link various information sources or even including new ones.

In the course of this research project the basis for an open and extensible platform shall be created (similar to successful open source projects like Open Street Map or Wikipedia) enabling the consolidation of diverse travel information systems and providing quantitatively and qualitatively better information for travellers (especially for handicapped people) from arbitrary sources (even by the users themselves).

The technical basis for implementing this research issue is a mobile location- and context-sensitive information and communication system (Digital Graffiti) developed by the Johannes Kepler University of Linz which enables its users to arbitrarily place information to both public and private locations and perceive this information using state-of-the-art tracking-enabled mobile phones. Hence, in addition to the openness the requested platform also considers the current residence of a traveller as a contextual input for better preparation and delivery of information.

The option of Digital Graffiti not only to place text and pictures but to link to external sources or even trigger electronically controlled actions just at spatial proximity of a user shall be the basis for a unique, common standard for networking travel information from different operators.

With the aid of the project partners ÖBB, OÖVV and Linz Linien the interfaces of existing systems shall be identified, classified and made generic to enable networking among the partners and beyond.

For extending the quantity and quality of the offered information the research project considers the option of Digital Graffiti to place information by the users themselves. The openness shall inspire the users’ creativity such that users provide content for users. Blind people shall be able to annotate their way for other blind people regarding their special needs. In cooperation with the partners Institut Integriert Studieren and CEIT ALANOVA new paradigms for interaction shall be created considering open, location-based communication for handicapped people.