20-Oct-2020

IT-TRANS to showcase the breadth of digital mobility solutions

From on-demand transport and occupancy predictions to mobile commerce, the conference and exhibition will provide a platform for new developments

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the pace of change in the mobility sector. Smart software is helping transport companies and mobility service providers deal with this. Possibilities include automating and electrifying vehicle fleets, greater use of ride pooling, on-demand transport, real-time passenger information and planning for repair and maintenance. Digital tools can also help regain the trust of passengers and check that they are wearing masks where necessary.

IT-TRANS will be held from 1 to 3 December 2020 at the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. The event will provide a platform to present and discuss mobility trends, concepts and visions from around the world, along with real solutions for the COVID-19 era. Two special sessions have been added to the IT-TRANS conference that are dedicated to the challenges that the pandemic poses to the public transport sector. In a series of case studies, transport companies from around the world will describe how they are handling the pandemic and outline the measures they have taken, such as new payment methods, video surveillance, overcrowding warning systems and flexible scheduling. “Although this year’s meet-up for the public transport sector may be a little different, IT-TRANS will allow the industry to think about the changes caused by the pandemic and discuss solutions. This is because the digital world has continued to develop and become more significant, as the event will show”, says Jaspal Singh, Senior Expert for IT and Development at UTIP, who is also responsible for the conference programme.

Both of the Covid-related discussions will be streamed live and made available virtually, along with many of the 35 other sessions. The entire conference will be a hybrid event, held both on site and online. The exhibition will take place in Karlsruhe according to an officially approved hygiene and safety plan. Around 270 providers of IT and mobility solutions will present their products and services for connected urban transport. Here is just a selection.

Click & collect – shop while you travel

Today, around 20 per cent of all passengers use the time spent travelling for online shopping. According to McKinsey, mobile commerce is due to become the second-largest income source in autonomous vehicles by the year 2030. Enroute is an Israeli start-up that allows mobility providers to monetise the time people spend travelling. It creates and uses a triangle between customers, retailers and mobility providers. Customers interact with the personalised and location-based shopping platform and order from retailers. The mobility provider then gives them the commission they earn in the form of travel credit.

and shopping online requires a reliable data connection. The vehicle chassis often severely weakens external signals, meaning that passengers struggle to stay connected. onway WiFi features an antenna that improves reception in the vehicle. Passengers can purchase upgrades that give them greater bandwidth or data volume, or allow them to use the service for longer.

Responding to coronavirus with flexible timetables and scheduling

As a result of the pandemic, transport companies have to be more flexible when planning their timetables. IVU Traffic Technologies has developed software that allows them to quickly adapt existing schedules and routes to changing needs, such as fluctuations in demand. In addition, the scheduling optimisation software automatically takes qualifications and preferences into account, thus increasing staff flexibility. Boom Rail Solutions will also be in Karlsruhe to present their software for needs-based fleet planning, along with their workshop and maintenance management tool.

Preventing overcrowding, creating trust, monitoring mask wearing

Overcrowding needs to be prevented in all public areas. That is why, despite falling passenger numbers, many transport authorities are maintaining all of their services. “We need to make sure that our passengers feel they are safe when they get on board our buses and trains, even during the pandemic”, says Prof. Knut Ringat, CEO of Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV). Being able to predict passenger levels and prevent overcrowding is particularly important for regional transport. This is because, unlike long-distance transport, it cannot rely on reservation data. HaCon joined forces with Siemens Mobility to develop a software solution that predicts capacity utilisation. It is based on the amount of queries and bookings made on local transport company apps. The data is used on a completely anonymous basis and cannot be traced back to the individual user. In addition, the self-learning algorithm takes plannable external influences like construction work and major events into account.

Camera-based technology and booking systems can help both manage passenger flows and make sure they are wearing masks, so that everyone feels safe while travelling. Many of the exhibitors at IT-TRANS provide just these solutions. Awaait has developed a fare evasion detector that detects people travelling without tickets at barriers. The system provides the data in real time using video streams from cameras monitoring the barriers. The Spanish AI specialists have also developed face mask monitoring software that uses the same IP/network cameras to check whether passengers are wearing face coverings. Both systems send alerts to inspectors via an app, so that they can catch passengers travelling without a ticket or mask in seconds. Isarsoft offers a video-based passenger counting system for use in vehicles, on platforms and at entrances. It can be used to determine long-term trends and local maximum passenger levels.

Mentz has developed an occupancy display that draws data from one of two sources. The first is dynamic real-time data fed into apps or passenger information platforms via the conventional SIRI standard. Alternatively, the system can use community-supported data. Moovit has developed another tool that supports social distancing at stations and stops. It uses push notifications and in-app pop-up windows to inform passengers about real-time delays, cancellations and changes, so that they can avoid spending long periods in busy areas.

MOBILEguide is a passenger flow system developed by INIT. The system uses a series of levels with which transport companies can control vehicle utilisation. In its final expansion stage, MOBILEguide takes into account typical embarking and disembarking behaviour at individual stops. It calculates a capacity prediction in the form of the expected occupancy level after disembarkation. This calculation is made based on real-time counting data, historical data and a self-learning algorithm (AI). Once the occupancy level in a vehicle exceeds a certain threshold, the MOBILE-ITCS intermodal transport control system alerts the control room. This allows for remedial measures, such as scheduling additional vehicles or temporarily preventing passengers from boarding.

MaaS - transport chains across modes of transport

Public transport systems are almost always based on the use of large vehicles with fixed routes, schedules and prices. But social distancing, working from home and lower levels of passenger trust are causing this to change. Vehicles need to be automated and connected if intermodal and flexible mobility systems are to truly exploit their potential in future. At IT-TRANS, many exhibitors will be showcasing smart software based on mobility as a service (MaaS):

Via offers an integrated mobility solution that includes shift planning, a passenger app with booking, vehicle tracking and ticketing functions, along with all the necessary scheduling, routing and payment systems.

Spanish company Indra uses intelligent analysis, learning and prediction models for its MaaS platform In-Mova Space. Dutch firm Tranzer links public transport and micro-mobility services, and provides an API for end-user MaaS platforms. Cityway will also present an MaaS app with an intermodal real-time route planner. Passengers receive a monthly invoice for all of the mobility services they have used, complete with best-price guarantee. The MaaS app shows the modes of transport as they move on a map and provides real-time information about occupancy.

Dr. Alexander Pischon, Managing Director of the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund
Dr. Alexander Pischon, Managing Director of the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund

Mobimeo adds a park+ride function to the multimodal apps of transport companies and authorities. Users travelling in their own car or a shared vehicle are shown occupancy levels for P+R car parks on their route and the probability of finding a free space at their destination. Heike Löffler, CCO of Mobimeo: “Our new P+R function is aimed at users that do not live close to a bus or train station and who therefore have to use cars more often. Displaying different mobility options in the app of their local public transport provider allows them to make an informed decision.”

“Modern mobility platforms are the tool of choice when it comes to meeting passenger needs. We are just about to release our own app that will offer additional information on things like traffic levels or individually tailored mobility chains featuring different modes of transport”, says Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund CEO Dr Alexander Pischon.

Sigo provides a further building block for intermodal transport chains with its rentable e-bikes that feature a spacious transport box. Passengers can pick these up from charging stations and use them for the last mile. The sharing model also includes bike maintenance, a functioning app, customer support and marketing activities to encourage use.

For periods of low utilisation, the Canadian exhibitor Spare helps transport providers switch to integrated on-demand transport. This works by replacing regular transport on high-cost, low-demand routes with an on-demand taxi service. Known as trip brokering, this service can be booked by phone or via the Spare Rider app.

Intuitive and digitally updated passenger information

Travellers expect to have all the information they need in real time, from departure times, connections and delays to information about stations, such as where to find lockers or food outlets. DB Systel, the IT subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, has developed a digital avatar called SEMMI. This uses AI technology to provide users with an interactive and contactless experience in natural language, and will be showcased at IT-TRANS for the first time. Alongside questions about Deutsche Bahn, SEMMI will provide visitors with information about other exhibitors and the conference programme, as well as the departure times of the shuttle service from the event in German and English.

UK company Papercast will use IT-TRANS to showcase its e-paper displays. It allows passenger information like vehicle capacity and occupancy, hygiene measures and route options to be shared in real time. GDS from Italy will also present its solar-powered e-paper displays. geo.zpheres is another end-to-end solution that manually or automatically generates and updates transport network maps to allow intuitive navigation for passengers. The geo.zpheres system can be shown on displays, websites and mobile apps.

Contactless, mobile and account-based ticketing

Thanks to digital sales channels like contactless payment, transport companies can not only increase safety for staff and passengers, but also reduce the costs of expensive cash payments and help passengers get on board faster. INIT recently developed an external card reader. Known as PROXusb, it can be connected by cable to the ticket printer or mounted outside the driver’s cabin. This maintains physical distance between driver and passenger. Estonian company Ridango also focuses on smart ticketing. It covers the entire EMV payment chain, from scanning at the validator to billing on the operator’s bank account. The British exhibitor Access-IS develops ticket and card readers that read barcodes, NFC and RFID chips, as well as accepting contactless cEMV payments. Worldline has developed an open-payment solution called WL Tap2Use. It enables contactless payment for passengers via bankcard, smartphone or wearable. Ingenico will also present its range of ticketing solutions, including the background system OP2GO Gateway, which combines risk management, payment billing and acquiring services.

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