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EU push for better travel planning solutions

The European Commission is renewing efforts to develop Europe-wide all-in-one journey planners, making it easier to plan and book journeys that involve several means of transport with a single online tool, even across borders. Coinciding with the 10th European ITS Congress in Helsinki — one of Europe’s largest events in Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (or “ITS”) — the Commission has published its analysis of the current situation of multimodal travel planners and its plans for the way forward. In particular, the Commission is tackling issues such as restricted access to the necessary data and insufficient cooperation between everyone involved.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for mobility and transport, said: “All too often ‘Brussels’ is used as a synonym for ‘heavy regulator’. In ITS and especially as regards journey planners we need to take a different path. We need to break down barriers. Small and innovative companies need access to travel data, so that they can develop real door-to-door solutions. And we need more and better cooperation between transport operators, industries, developers and Member States.”

Multimodal journey planners in Europe

With the internet and smartphones generating growth in highly personalised services, information that spans different forms of transport — multimodal information — is a crucial factor for smart and seamless travel.

Apart from making it much easier for people to plan and book their trips, all-in-one planners that integrate real-time traffic information would also

  1. improve information — making users aware of all possible travel options, even if they are already on their way;
  2. make journeys greener — allowing travellers to easily identify the fastest and most environmentally friendly combination of different means of transport for each trip;
  3. reduce congestion and emissions — by providing alternatives to congested or blocked routes;
  4. offer new business opportunities and jobs in a very dynamic sector.

More than a hundred multimodal journey planners are already available in Europe. However, they are all limited either geographically (to individual cities or regions) or in their coverage of transport modes. Only very rarely do they offer any cross-border information.

See more details in the commission’s staff working document Towards a roadmap for delivering EU-wide multimodal travel information, planning  and ticketing services

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