Development of a Mobile Application Providing Transportation Alternatives for Train Passengers
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Chatzis, Ioannis Rafail
The concept of Smart cities was invented as a solution to the challenges of infrastructure, connectivity and transit, as well as the seamless communication of different data sources, raised within urbanised cities. Transportation is of high priority for Smart Cities, due to its great contribution to the economic growth of the cities themselves and the persistent problem of congestion in big cities. The most vulnerable sector is that of trains, as it is prone to disruptions, because of manmade errors, weather conditions or technical malfunctions. This project develops a multimodal mobile Android application for four different train stations with the city of Edinburgh used as a case study, warning its users for train delays or cancellations in real time and suggesting them an alternative route based on a combination of four different modes of transportation (bus, taxi, tram and walking). The application collects in real-time, the timetables of the trains from the “Darwin” train information engine, the bus and tram stations as well as their timetables from the Transport for Edinburgh Open Data Application Programming Interface (API), while the taxi ranks are used as static data, with the code for the network analysis being provided by ESRI’s ArcGIS Runtime Software Development Kit (SDK). Evaluating the usability, functionality and performance of the application through testing with Edinburgh train travellers, allowed the exploration of whether a multimodal application can increase the travel experience in the event of disruption and whether the openness of APIs is sufficient for the development of routing applications. Results showed that indeed a multimodal application can increase the travel experience in the event of travel disruption, but the openness of APIs was insufficient for the city of Edinburgh, leaving space for further research in other cities.