Empowering People through Mobile Devices for Smarter Places
Increase in traffic volumes in urbanized areas of the world has caused a rise in congestion with negative consequences on safety, environment and quality of life of citizens. Only in Europe the cost of traffic congestion is 1% of the GDP, and this does not take into account the cost in terms of deaths caused by road network saturation. On top of this 30% of energy consumed by our population goes into public or private transport system. More than 55000Km of roads and railroads are monitored by webcams or vehicle counters. Some technologies to assess road network state and improve safety and quality of life of travelers already exists but many are limited to small networks or a particular public transport operator. Smart use and harmonization of available data on top of other real-time data acquisition methods can provide a better service to European citizens. Smart use of public transport possibilities can have a huge positive impact on traveling speed, quality and safety. In the last years availability of public transport real time data and the spread of smart mobile devices, allowed us to develop pervasive travel assistant applications for mobile phones. The project presented in this paper, i-Tour, shows how an IT solution for mobile phones can have sensible impact on personal mobility quality by promoting the use of mixed public-private transport. The application takes into account user preferences as well as real-time information on road conditions, weather and public transport network status. I-Tour also promotes a new approach to data collection based on a recommender system where the information provided by the whole user community enriches the trusted-knowledge common database with local up-to-date knowledge consisting of point of interest and real-time road network information. The client can adapt to user preferences to better meet user needs, young users may prefer using bikes or just walking while adults may prefer taking the car or public transports. At the same time some users need to always use the fastest mean of transport while other may prefer a more eco-friendly choice. Innovative user-friendly interfaces have been developed to create new interface metaphors; when a user search for a travel solution a set of possible routes will be given to the user on a graph showing not only each path but also the different meaning of transport, the quality of service, traffic conditions and waiting times of each route. The software also is potentially profitable since many areas of the client are adaptable to integrate ads or provide visibility to sponsored locations or commercial point of interests. The client provides 3 types of map visualization system, top-down 2D Map, full 3D map, and Augmented Reality visualization. To seamlessly switch between different visualization methods an innovative system based on device orientation has been ideated. When the user keeps the device horizontal the client set the visualization to 2D map, when the device is kept vertical the device switch to augmented reality view; in between the map shows full 3D terrain visualization. Questionnaires responses shown that many solutions adopted were well appreciated by the users.
KeywordsSmart Cities i-Tour Ambient Intelligence Personal Mobility Assistant
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