Demonstration Venice

Venice Use Case – visiting a city, not being familiar with it

This use case, that will also be the reference for the relevant demo WP9, is focused on users not familiar with a territory. The purpose of the visit can be any, from visiting friends to tourism or business.

The user would expect to be helped in defining his tactics and maybe these change when he arrives in the city and needs to move around. Looking to a sustainable city/mobility concept, the journey should be planned and done using sustainable modes, i.e. alternative to private car use.

Of course the visitor may arrive by car, train, airplane etc. In all cases he is supposed to need help in understanding what to do to go to the final destination or to plan and do a touristic visit.

The most interesting case for sustainability is when he arrives by car. The application should encourage him to leave the car somewhere (park and ride facilities, for example) and to use other modes during the visit. As long as those modes involve public transport or shared rides (e.g. bike sharing, car sharing) then the application should help booking or purchasing the services or the tickets.

It is believed that the HMI (Human Machine Interface) is important for these applications and therefore a one-stop shop concept and a map based interface should be carefully considered. In the background the application should collect data from any practically available source. Another point is that the visitor would likely use his PC when at home and then a smartphone or a tablet when he is onsite. Therefore the application should be seen as a unique and consistent environment when used on different display dimensions.

All in all the applications should be designed to manage a workflow something similar to this: Enter the environment as a one-stop shop found immediately from Google or so, when he types the name of the city.

  • define the itinerary targets of the user (points to be visited, if known already), maybe touching an advanced map where the user can see where these are, and additional information like price and availability.
  • get also information about where he could go, i.e. what is coolest in town (culture, music, exhibitions..), always on an advanced map
  • get information about these places and events
  • re-define targets, maybe after some trade-offs that showed the user how long it would take for each alternatives (and that can be recalled to finally choose)
  • see the possible itineraries and the mobility options. For example, if arriving by car, the advanced map could let the user see where he can park it and get a bus or access to the car sharing or bike sharing services or what else), better if the itineraries take into account the expected problems due to traffic or events
  • choose the itinerary and the museums or areas he want to visit
  • book and purchase the tickets and passes
  • modify and adapt.

Get helped during his visit: for example, if he uses the personal advisor in a kind of navigator mode, then he could be curious to get information about a building, a monument shown in the map or seen nearby. The app could give the information when the user touches the map. This would make the map interactive and not only a background.  The application will be tested in Venice, both in the mainland area where the territory is representative of any small-to-medium sized European city, and in the historic area to represent any other touristic interesting city.  In particular, Mestre (the Venice inland area) has 14 park and ride areas where the user can leave the car and has directaccess to buses and bike and car sharing. These facilities would be involved in the tests and would be monitored by some on-purpose equipment to provide information about spaces and services actually available when the visitor is about to arrive and this will be a practical solution to the promotion of the modal change. The demonstration related to the touristic visits use case will mostly take place in the historic area and will take into account that the city of Venice has in place a web based ticketing sales facility and has a Municipal website publishing planned and on-going events, touristic information etc. and a GIS with the city network and other information.

Available data that could be made available to the application include localization of public transport, public transport paths and timetables, car and bike sharing data, some traffic data and TV images (to be data processed to derive information about congestion, if it is the case), city network data and GIS. An investigation about the data actually available and how to collect them will be done at the early stages of the project. The work to be done to actually dig and integrate the data is foreseen to be long and man-month consuming but Venice will do all what is possible to ensure access to the data within appropriate agreements.