Dynamic journey planners
Journey Planners assist (potential) travellers to identify the transportation options for the journey(s) they wish to make, and to make travel plans. Dynamic Journey Planners add real-time information to the scheduled information. This takes account of current delays and minimises the risk that the recommended travel option cannot actually be achieved on the day of travel.
Journey planners vary greatly in scope and complexity. In poad order of complexity, forms of journey planners include:
- Look-up table of routes and places served
- Search for routes that serve a named location
- Search for direct routes that serve boarding-alighting pairs
- Search for all route combinations that serve boarding-alighting pairs, within system-set constraints
- Search for all route combinations that serve boarding-alighting pairs, within parameters set by the user (e.g. least transfers, least time, least cost)
- Recommended route/route combination for a boarding-alighting pair, optimised by user-determined criteria
- Recommended door-to-door itinerary for an origin-destination pair, optimised by user-determined criteria
- Recommended route/route combination for a boarding-alighting pair, optimised by user-determined criteria, based on real-time information (dynamic journey planning)
- Recommended door-to-door itinerary for an origin-destination pair, optimised by user-determined criteria (dynamic journey planning)
To assist users, some journey planners provide a user profile facility. This holds information such as home address, favourite destinations, travel/mode preferences, and user requirements. This will preload data and speed up search and enquiry sessions.
Technologies, data and resources
Journey planners are complex software applications that require extensive service and mapping data, computing resources, and optimising engines. They are usually online facilities, whose dialogue and communication requirements are provided through the general traveller information services.
The simpler versions can be based on a single mode. As complexity increases, all public transport modes need to be included. Door-to-door journey planning requires information about the urban area and walking times, Dynamic journey planning requires data from real-time information systems.
Advantages and Cautions
The primary advantages of (Dynamic) Journey Planners are to:
- Assist travellers to identify journey options, and to asses them according to their personal preferences
- Provide recommendations based on real-time information and user preferences
- Reduce the burden on help-desks and information services
The principal cautions in relation to (Dynamic) Journey Planners are:
- The data and computational requirements can be quite substantial, especially for multi-modal journey planners.
- Boundary issues inevitably apply, since there is no geographical limit to the journeys people may wish to take
- Naming of places is often a challenge. Well-known problems include:
- multiple local names for a place, many of which are different to the official name;
- difficulty for a person unfamiliar with a location to identify the place/name;
- long streets;
- multilingual contexts;
- Information must be accurate, complete, and up-to-date
- Regular travellers, infrequent travellers native to the location and visitors/tourists are likely to have different requirements, different knowledge of options, and different expectations.