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who develop their mental map of options for road-rail completion through experience and insight from significant others; • Habitualised innovation – travellers who have come to use ‘non-local’ rail access for specific long distance journeys which no longer seems ‘peculiar’ to them; • Unsuspectingly disrupted habit – travellers who have preconceived assumptions about mode options but who may be ‘nudged’ into considering new options. More questions were raised: Did we need to tune the algorithm or user interface to target one (or more) of these behaviours? Did we need to ensure the ‘expected’ journeys were present alongside the alternatives offered by ChoiceRail? In order to answer these questions, a demonstrable user interface was required that surfaced the ChoiceRail algorithm. Trapeze developed a website using Responsive Web Design principles and HTML5, which would offer a high quality user experience regardless of the device type used. This decision was based on analysis of the usage of our existing client journey planning solutions, which showed roughly equal numbers of users accessing via mobile devices and traditional desktop devices. We were encouraged to see that ChoiceRail offered the expected answer to the Northampton to Newcastle query. We were also encouraged by positive feedback 58 ITS REVIEW Annual Review 2015 from users in that it – more often than not – detected the interchange that users had established through their own choices. We were especially encouraged that some mixed mode solutions were no greater in duration than the car only alternative; indeed we found many examples where the overall journey time was quicker using a mixed mode solution. Using the prototype, UWE gathered feedback from a second round of focus groups. This testing exposed three key insights: • There are use-case scenarios where participants could envisage the benefit of an inter-modal journey planner; • ChoiceRail can be used as a way of ‘exploring’ travel options, and as a way of uncovering new ways of making a journey; • Thirdly, this work gave some indication of how likely people were to actually use ChoiceRail. Issues such as complexity of solutions and trust in results were amongst factors highlighted in this context. On this last point, there were many factors which were identified, but would be hard to model in our algorithm: • If the interchange station is in an unfamiliar location, some users would be reluctant to select that option; • The confidence that there will be a car parking space (in addition to cost and capacity); • The facilities at the interchange station; • The connection to the train leg. What frequency are the trains if I miss the intended connection? Will I get a seat on the train? How much will it cost? • Will I be able to get back to my car (is there a return public transport option)? Will the car park still be open when I get back? Summary In summary, ChoiceRail allowed us to prototype a mixed mode planner. We were reassured that the algorithm returned the results expected by users. We were equally excited to discover that the algorithm found the interchanges that reflect real users’ choices. We hope the results of our algorithm will encourage people out of their cars and on to public transport for a significant part of their journey. The user interface we developed will overcome the issue of the user having to juggle several road and public transport planners on the screen – which would be near impossible on a Smartphone screen. Perhaps most importantly, we realised that some parameters that are most important to travellers are not yet modelled, nor the data available. Twenty years on from our first attempts, we are still occupied in the pursuit of the perfect planner – one that reflects both the objective and subjective decisions made by real people. ◆  The ChoiceRail algorithm offers the expected mixed mode solution with a journey time comparable to the drive only option Paul Everson is Industry Specialist for the Information and Ticketing sector at Trapeze Group. He has been working in public transport for 18 years and says: “My job is a mix of product and account management, which suits my interests and skillset. I find it exciting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving”. You can contact Paul at paul. everson@ trapezegroup.com, or find out more about Trapeze’s passenger information solutions at www. trapezegroup. co.uk/pi 〉〉


ITSReviewAnnual2015
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