Martí Jofre of Pildo Labs explains how the GALILEO 4 Mobility and ARIADNA projects have sought to demonstrate how GALILEO satellite technology can be used for MaaS schemes

 

 
With innovations such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and shared mobility like bike- sharing and e-scooters, the urban mobility landscape is evolving faster than ever. Via just one smartphone click, travellers can move from A to B using different and integrated modes of transport.

Geospatial technology may not immediately come to mind when thinking about MaaS – but it should. Navigation technology is more closely connected to public transport than some may think. When moving around the city using different routes and means of transport, knowing your position, and that of the vehicle, is essential. To accurately define those, it is important that geolocation is readily available and accurate. Besides needed for planning transport routes, it also allows for on-board information that informs passengers about disruptions and real-time information on the position of the vehicle. It is for these reasons that many transportation bodies will factor in geospatial technology when defining their urban mobility plans.

GALILEO 4 Mobility

The European GNSS Agency, or GSA, aims to advance the use of geolocation technologies to improve urban mobility through various initiatives.

One of their key projects, GALILEO 4 Mobility, focuses specifically on GALILEO technology, the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) created by the EU. Starting in 2017, the project aims to foster the adoption of GALILEO technology within a MaaS context, enhancing the continuity and ease of shared mobility services in urban environments. GALILEO for Mobility features a consortium of 11 partners, UITP (International Association of Public Transport) among them. The project is coordinated by engineering company Pildo Labs.

In this demo, accurate positioning with help from GALILEO technology contributes to better determining the location of the users and vehicles, also basing the billing for the service on that data

To test how the integration of GALILEO technology could improve urban mobility, the project has run demonstrations in different locations across Europe. In Thessaloniki, Greece, the demo was led by research institute CERTH/HIT and taxi company Taxiway and consisted of a shared taxi-service partnering up travellers sharing the same itinerary, this way discouraging private car-ownership and tackling traffic congestion. The pilot in Paris (led by Clem’) includes both an e-bike and e-car sharing service. In this demo, accurate positioning with help from GALILEO technology contributes to better determining the location of the users and vehicles, also basing the billing for the service on that data.

Another pilot took place in Barcelona. Led by RACC, it was tested how GALILEO technology improved the accuracy of a dedicated MaaS aggregator application. The app gathers the whole mobility offer of the area, including bike sharing, scooter-sharing, car-sharing, public transport and taxi, meaning accurate positioning of the passenger and the vehicles is essential to enable a seamless door-to-door journey. The first results of the demo are already in, showing that the precision and the acquisition time of the geolocation signal improves when using a GALILEO-equipped smartphone.

Improving mobility in Barcelona

The latest pilot was launched in February, and includes a bus-on demand pilot in Cervelló, a small town near Barcelona. The pilot is a collaboration between Pildo and public authority Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), and aims to tackle the low usage of bus services in the area.

A GALILEO-enabled bus complements the existing lines and run according to demand: thanks to an app, citizens can reserve seats by indicating origin, destination, and time of desired trip. GALILEO technology is providing users with a more precise positioning of the vehicle, and helps drivers to correctly execute the planned itinerary.

The pilot will provide valuable lessons to AMB. Insights will be used to validate the suitability of on-demand bus services for low density areas and – if the pilot gives positive results – the service might be deployed in many other territories, including those where it wasn’t economically viable before.

Beyond GALILEO 4 Mobility: the ARIADNA project

GALILEO 4 Mobility will be completed in summer 2020, but luckily the baton has been passed on: in January this year, GSA launched ARIADNA, a new project that to some extent can be considered as a natural continuation of GALILEO 4 Mobility.

ARIADNA supports the adoption of EGNSS for public transport and urban mobility by raising awareness on GALILEO and EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) benefits, and its technical features, among different urban mobility stakeholders. Alongside focussing on decision-makers, public transport authorities and operators, ARIADNA also seeks to support the introduction of new solutions provided by SMEs and start-ups, in a fruitful cooperation with academia and research centres, ultimately promoting visibility at global scale.

In the end, ARIADNA wants authorities and mobility operators to understand exactly where the system can be used, for which purpose, its technological readiness, the challenges being faced, and then highlight the increased benefits that GALILEO has to offer

In the end, ARIADNA wants authorities and mobility operators to understand exactly where the system can be used, for which purpose, its technological readiness, the challenges being faced, and then highlight the increased benefits that GALILEO has to offer. ARIADNA is coordinated by Spanish mobility consultancy Factual, and features a consortium of five partners, including UITP and Pildo.

GALILEO 4 Mobility lives on in other ways too: Pildo recently launched a spin-off to commercialise developments performed in the project in the form of Nemi, a tool enabling the operation of demand-responsive public transport services.

Nemi makes mobility in low-density areas feasible by providing a software solution that enables flexible bus routes. Consisting on a system back-end — which hosts the routing algorithm — a mobile user app, a driver app, and a web back-office, it allows citizens to book seats on vehicles which are operating different demand- responsive lines by indicating origin, destination and time of their desired trip. The available options are shaped by the virtual stops and schedule previously defined by the competent public authority. In short, it allows to make public transport services more flexible, efficient, and inclusive.

This project has received funding from the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency under grant agreement No 776381.

For more information, please visit:

www.galileo4mobility.eu
www.ariadna-project.eu
www.nemi.mobi

 
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