The EDITS project was presented by the Lead Partner, AustriaTech, explaining the need for information services in the current times, when an increasing number of passengers travel across European borders. However, interoperable, multimodal traveller information services do not cross national, regional or even organizational borders as they should. Hence, EDITS consortium developed a harmonized system architecture and common specification for the cross-border data exchange, which led to several EDITS services, available in three demonstration areas, including the CENTROPE region (Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary), the triangle area covering Austria-Italy-Slovenia, as well as the Italian bordering provinces of Modena and Ferrara. The available services have been presented “live” to the public and participants had the opportunity to try it themselves.
Several speakers contextualized EDITS in a more general ITS framework (Intelligent Transport services) like Ms. Dorota Szeligowska, from the European Commission, DG MOVE C3, Intelligent Transport Systems, who gave a full view of the current ITS situation at the European level, guiding the participants through current and future opportunities for further initiatives. Particularly interesting was the ITS Directive and its related specifications which should be adopted by the end of the year, offering a window of opportunity also for a direct contribution from the EDITS project.
On the other hand, Mr. Franz Schwammenhöfer, from the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology gave an outlook of the current and future situation on ITS services available in Austria. He also reserved warm words of support for the EDITS project and encouraged further initiatives and synergies with other European countries and services.
Mr. Winfried Ritt, from the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme Joint Technical Secretariat welcomed enthusiastically the EDITS results, describing them as measurable, tangible and concrete. Future developments could also be considered in the new programming period of the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme 2014-2020, which will be launched early 2015.
EDITS results: from pilots to real services
When EDITS project partners, mainly coming from public institutions and transport operators in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, and Slovakia, started to work together in 2012 to deploy and operate cross-border multimodal travel information based on harmonized traffic data and information gathered on transnational level, they only imagined the results they were going to achieve over the following 30 months.
Right from the start it was commonly agreed not to set up a new central multimodal journey planner within the involved EU Member States but rather to improve, update and harmonize existing services in the partner regions to finally ensure the provision of seamless cross-border services to the single traveller. This is especially due to the fact that a lot of structures and systems are already existing in the national administrations – the challenge has been to improve, update and harmonise existing systems in a common way to finally enable your EDITS Service.
As a first and highly important step the EDITS consortium developed common specifications for the exchange of data within EDITS. This includes as one of the main components specifications for the exchange of geographic data (GIS), as the EDITS partners recognised that the development of consistent multimodal transport graphs within the single regions based on common specifications plays an important role. They form the very basis for the creation and adaptation of partner specific enhanced traveller information services. The so-called “EDITS-GIP format” is therefore the interface for the exchange of GIS data between the EDITS source systems (GIP in Austria, KIRA in Hungary, Zagabed in Czech Republic, etc.). It covers the GIS data of the transport infrastructure (for individual and public transport). The second main component within the EDITS concept is the specification for commonly agreed data and information exchange for various kinds of data next to the GIS data needed for the provision of end-user services (e.g. public transport information, time table data, road related information etc.). These specifications are based on existing European and national standards (like DATEX II, DINO, etc.) Within the range of one commonly defined “EDITS Multimodal Traveller Information service”, a modular approach enables the EDITS partners to deploy different end-user services depending on the data availability as well as the user expectations of the participating operators in their specific region in a modular way.
Based on the definition of this modular approach, using the commonly defined specification for cross-border data exchange for GIS data as well as the exchange of public and individual transport related data, the EDITS consortium has deployed 10 different web- or app-based EDITS-related traveller information services, covering different demonstration areas in Central Europe.
Indeed, six pilot actions have been developed in three main demonstration areas: including CENTROPE (Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary), the triangle area between Austria, Italy and Slovenia as well as the Italian bordering provinces of Modena and Ferrara.
The demonstration area CENTROPE covers the Vienna Region (including Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland), Southern Moravia, the western part of Hungary and the city of Bratislava. Within this demonstration area 5 web-based EDITS Services (1 from Hungary, 1 from Austria and 3 from the Czech Republic) and 2 mobile Applications (provided by the Czech partners) are available. The EDITS services in CENTROPE provide different cross-border traveller information services, including routing for pedestrians, cyclists, motorised vehicles and public transport.
The demonstration area ITALY covers the Italian provinces of Modena and Ferrara. The regions demonstrate the cross-regional exchange of GIS and public transport data implemented within a common EDITS traveller information platform. The purpose of the service is to provide pre-trip information different from those normally provided by other services available on the web. The EDITS Service in demonstration area ITALY provides estimated travel times based on travel times of the buses of the public transport, taking into account the period and the time of a requested route. The provided service considers the timing of a trip according to the time of the year (school period, period of vacation, holidays, etc.) and also time of the day (soft hours or rush hours). In addition the service provides information on the index of dangerousness of the various road sections that are travelled.
Furthermore, it is possible to find for the same paths public transport lines and stops with timetables and cross-border cycle paths for the provinces of Modena and Ferrara.
The Demonstration area AUSTRIA-ITALY-SLOVENIA covers the cross-border triangular area linking the cities of Villach (AT) – Udine (IT) – Ljubljana (SI). EDITS Services within this demonstration area focuses on individual transport and demonstrates the cross-border exchange of traffic messages among the motorway operators ASFINAG (Austria), AutoVie Venete (Italy) and DARS (Slovenia) in order to provide cross-border information about traffic states.In accordance with the European specifications the EDITS partners within this triangle area early users of a European Standard as common basis. Therefore, the EDITS partners are taking a leading role in Europe as they demonstrate the exchange of data in the DATEX II format The EDITS Services in this demonstration area provides traffic information along with routing recommendations in the covered area to drivers planning a trip or looking for route alternatives on their way to their final destination. Information is provided on basis of the current traffic situation including weather conditions.
More information and further details about the developed apps can be found here.