Recently the Be-Insight project team started a pilot in Bodø, Norway, to gather valuable data for further research.
Bodø Nu, the local newspaper, published an article on the project and pilot, and you can read journalist Anette Tjemsland’s piece in Norwegian here (originally published 06.09.2021):
Read on for a translated and modified version, by permission of Tjemsland.
Technology company fluxLoop leads a comprehensive research project in collaboration with Nordland County Council (Nordland Fylkeskommune), Kristiania University College (Høyskolen Kristiania), and Ruter AS.
Read more about Be-Insight here:
The goal is to build a technological platform that will enable automatic ticketing for the public transport industry.
The project will also provide insight into people's actual travel habits and behaviour, which can be used to optimise services and business development. - The space of opportunity is vast. Municipalities and counties will be able to understand the travel habits and behaviour of their inhabitants and tourists, while the public transport companies can develop new business models, says Ulrik Prøitz, CEO and founder of fluxLoop.
The first pilot started in Bodø on Tuesday, September 7th. Here, 50 local public transport travellers will assist the project by sharing their data when traveling, both with public transport and by private means of transport.
During the pilot, data will be collected via a test app. The project team will also utilise sensors that are already in smartphones, combined with other relevant data, and apply data analysis and machine learning algorithms. The aim is to be able to determine when a person is on a specific means of transport, and the difference between being on a bus, train, bike etc. This will be pivotal for further research.
A goal of the project is to facilitate the development of technology that can enable completely new business models, where you pay for, for example, the number of stops or a distance you travel, as opposed to the zone-based model that is used in most places today.
- It is not always as easy to know which ticket to buy, because you may not know your needs in advance. Should I buy a monthly card, a single ticket, weekly card or maybe an annual card? But for a future ticket solution, you will - for example - be able to get on a bus, get off four stops later and only pay for the actual distance you have traveled, Prøitz explains. - Payment will be made automatically without the customer having to actively do anything. This is what’s called automated ticketing. This way, the user will be able to get a more seamless travel routine, he adds.
Extraction of valuable insights on travel habits and needs is just as important as the ability to facilitate automatic ticketing. This information is currently collected via the national Travel Habits Survey (Reisevaneundersøkelsen: RVU), which takes place by personal telephone interviews.
- The project's method opens up to automatically obtaining valuable insights based on actual behaviour. Unlike the current method which is based on what an individual remembers, Prøitz says.
A key focus in the research project is handling user privacy. In the pilot, as well as in what will ultimately be the final solution, the service will be based on explicit user consent. Users will have the opportunity to see, and delete the collected data. The project works towards making calculations directly on smartphones, thereby avoiding sending personal data to the cloud.
- User privacy will, of course, be in compliance with GDPR, Prøitz says and continues: - I think that many are willing to share some information to make everyday travels easier. In addition, this is valuable insights that the public transport actors can use to plan future services, optimise operations and increase sustainable transport. Sustainability in the public transport sector is extremely important, and this is a space where we as individuals can contribute, Prøitz concludes.