The project deliverables and results make use of certain terms that can cause ambiguity if not defined explicitly. As such, here, we will attempt to fully describe the basic keywords used.
EuTravel aims to support the EU agenda towards an open and single market for mobility services by enabling travellers to organise multimodal trips in accordance with their own criteria. This includes environmental performance whilst providing transport and travel service providers (TSPs) an effective way to deliver customised services.
The term multimodal is used to encapsulate the use of different means of transport for completing a door-to-door (D2D)trip/journey from point A to point B (itinerary). Door-to-door refers to the whole end-to-end journey, which includes rural as well as urban areas. Ranging from airplanes, trains (speed rail, conventional rail, light rairail), ferries, and long-distance coach, as well as modes such as taxis, local transport services, including bus and metro, and parking information the aim of this project is to integrate all available information related primarily to scheduled transport modes and to provide a single common interface for the interested parties. Such integration would lead to improved flexibility, quality and cost-effectiveness.
A leg or segment is the movement of the user that involves a single mean of transport. Interchange is the act during which the user changes a vehicle or a means of transport. For example, when the traveller arrives at a destination airport and proceeds to board the bus to the city centre, this is considered an interchange. The interchange points are also being referred as stops or transit points.
The Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1926 of 31 May 2017 supplementing Directive 2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the provision of EU-wide multimodal travel information services define the interchange points as handover points.
EuTravel demonstrates a way to present to travellers what their options are when they want to go from location A to location B in a way that does not penalise or ignore some options in favour of others (neutral display) and secondly allow them to book and manage all the legs of their trip from within a single application (front-end journey planner).
Key to the realisation of the projects’ vision is the EuTravel Optimodality Framework, which integrates processes, data, and systems in a manner that eliminates interoperability barriers. The Optimodality Framework, intends to also outline:
• the necessary legal aspects related to multimodal travelling (i.e. allocating liability in multimodal itineraries, informing travellers on their rights etc.).
• the business modelling required for the deployment of commercial cross-modal offerings and agreements among travel and transport service providers.
In general, the term Optimodal, which is they key term of this project, is an attempt to condense the extent of our framework’s value in a single word. We are referring to the optimal method of integrating multiple means of travel information, such as availability, fares or even legal considerations, by abstracting this information through the Common Information Model and, as a result, to extract optimised results for a travel query from point A to point B. Thus, Optimodal travel implies that neutral itineraries are constructed according to user preferences including environmental performance and providing a seamless end-user experience.
One of the most important business and legal matters is the definition of the single ticket. By single ticket, we are referring to the sum of bookings made by a single customer for a single journey, linked together and displayed as a single entity. In its current form, every node of this single ticket covers a single leg and is characterized by distinct customer rights and obligations, along with legal responsibilities for the issuer.
The proof of concept of the framework is realised through the implementation of the Optimodality platform, which is the backbone (back-end) of the EuTravel ecosystem, an open innovation foundation that promotes openness, scalability and easy participation for transport and travel stakeholders. The platform enables travel and transport organisations to easily publish content and develop both business-to-business and business-to-consumer distribution services, enabling travellers to make an informed choice, using multiple modes of transport.
Interoperability is one of the most challenging aspects of a complex software implementation that involves several subsystems. It is a generic term used to describe the internal and external connectivity and interfacing that enables modules in a larger system to function together as a whole. In our case, interoperability can be defined as the capacity of systems and the underlying business processes to exchange data and to share information and knowledge in order to deliver new services or extend existing ones. Interoperability is realised through the Optimodality Platform and it’s components.
API of APIs & CIM
Key part of the platform is the “Super Travel API” or “API of APIs” which helps overcoming interoperability barriers in the transportation and travel industry. The API of APIs is a single configurable API for multimodal travel, that provides the necessary common framework to unify heterogeneous APIs of several modes, under a common collaboration ground.
The modelling and implementation approach of the EuTravel Ecosystem is based on the development of the Common Information Model (CIM), a data model that integrates the key data structures of the travel industry segments.
Integration is a key part of the project’s purpose. Through the “API of APIs”, we are aiming to provide a single point of access to the complex collection of APIs that adhere to the aerial, naval and terrestrial regulations. The process of integration includes the mapping of distinct third-party API properties to the ones contained in our specified interpretation via the Common Information Model.
Overall, the EuTravel architecture and design enables embedding business rules in multimodal workflows, enabling the orchestration of multiple services, dictating viewership and permissions among the Ecosystem’s participants and consumers. It also allows the extension and improvement of the functionality developed in the scope of the project, the addition of new features, modes of transport and business models, demonstrating openness, scalability and extendibility, supported by the ever-evolving domain model (CIM).