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Cross-border travel planning on the advance

Many mobility experts across Europe hope that the so-called "Linking of Services" will provide easier access to travel information for customers and more efficient and broader traffic management in public spaces. This is precisely what the AustriaTech experts are committed to in the "LinkingDanube" project: a sustainable, intermodal and sustainable mobility system.


The traffic density in Europe is increasing and personal mobility is becoming increasingly important in people's lives. The estimated increase in passenger volume in the EU is more than 30% by 2030 and more than 50% by 2050.  But public transport infrastructure is not growing at the same rate. So how can we prevent travelers from increasingly using cars again in the future, bottlenecks in local public transport and efficiency and sustainability?


The project "LinkingDanube" coordinated by AustriaTech is convinced that this is possible by making better use of the potential of the existing physical infrastructure. For example, by expanding and simplifying access to cross-border, intermodal travel information for customers. "We want to enable seamless travel chains and strengthen the individual local systems," explains Dr. Bettina Neuhäuser, LinkingDanube project coordinator at AustriaTech.


What is the Linking of Services?


But how can the potential of the existing infrastructure be better exhausted? The magic word is "Linking of Services". This concept provides for several travel information services to be linked together. This means that providers of travel and route information connect via an interface and make their information accessible. This makes it possible for customers to access information from several providers at the same time. This gives them a continuous, multimodal and cross-border route in their "home system". Stefan Mayr from Verkehrsauskunft Österreich is therefore convinced: "By linking several information systems for travel information about neighbouring countries or even EU-wide, one can generate incredible added value and an increase in quality for customers.“ This makes access to travel information easier and removes an important obstacle to the use of local public transport.


For infrastructure managers and providers of travel and route information, this also means connection to a larger commuting area. They do not have to outsource their data to an external database. The information is made available to the neighbouring system via an interface (the so-called "CEN Open Journey Planner API (OJP)"). In the Danube region (CZ, AT, SK, HU, SI, RO), the first pilot project that works according to the concept of an "Open Journey Planner“ is in action. Kvetoslav Havlik of the South Moravia Transport Authority and LinkingDanube partner is convinced of the concept:


"Our goal is to implement the Open Journey Planner and to connect our region of South Moravia and the whole Czech Republic with Austria, Slovakia and all countries involved in the project."



Ill. 1: Linking of Services


The networking of networkers


Similar projects also exist in other regions of Europe: The EU-SPIRIT (DELFI) project pursues similar objectives in Germany, Denmark, France, Poland, Sweden and Luxembourg. In Switzerland and Italy the interest in an implementation is also high. Markus Liechti from the Federal Office of Transport in Switzerland says: "Customers of public transport want to use a service that makes travelling easier for them. That's why we want to promote access to route information and ticket purchases across borders."


In order to support and advance this development, AustriaTech organised a workshop ("Facing the challenge of Distributed (Open) Journey Planning") as part of the "LinkingDanube" project in order to bring together the various stakeholders from the sector. The aim is to develop a common understanding of "OJP's".


"Events like this workshop are very important. Especially because this time actors from both technical and political fields came together. This enabled us to bring together a very wide range of topics to form a common understanding," says Katharina Helfert, one of the organisers of the workshop at AustriaTech.



Ill. 2 & 3: OJP Workshop at the BMVIT organised by AustriaTech