Good Practices - Greece
Easytrip services Greece– Bulgaria (mobility planner, traffic info, points of interest) – Improvement of Cross Border Facilities
The Easytrip platform (web-based and apps) aims to encourage public transport trips made by tourists by providing them the relevant information. Based on the above, the Easytrip services were designed in order to provide effective, timely and accurate information to support more efficient traveller decisions and system objectives. The services are provided in Greek, Bulgarian and English languages, so as to enable smooth and convenient flow of information and service provision to all travellers, despite the language used locally.
- Information Services
- Public Transport Information Service
- Points of Interest (Places) Information Service
- Offers Information Service
- Traffic Information service
- Parking Information Service
- Environmental Information service
- Touristic Routes Information Service
- Road Safety Information Service
- Weather Information Service
- Routing Services
- Car Routing Service
- Public Transport (multimodal) Routing Service
The benefits from its operation in most cases not directly quantifiable, as most of the social and economic benefits from such projects. Succinctly, social and economic benefits of the platform are:
1.1. Social benefits
- Improvement of traffic conditions and shift to public transport means versus private car
- Reduction of travel time by providing real time traffic information
- Reduction of environmental pollution
- Improvement of road safety
- Promotion of the cooperation between local public and private authorities
- Promotion of the culture and history of the participating in EasyTrip locations
- Equal opportunities for development through e-promotion for all the commercial enterprises
1.2. Financial Benefits
- Increase of tourism demand
- Strengthening of the local economy through tourism and commerce.
- Better coordination of investments for development of tourism services under the specific requirements that will be recorded from the users of the platform.
Internet services and Smartphone applications implemented within the practice
Challenges and barriers in implementing /introducing selected good practice and respective ways used in order to overcome or limit risks
The main problem for the implementation of the transport information services is the need for complete, updated and detailed data. The required data do not only refer to the transport systems characteristics (timetables, routes, frequencies etc) but also to geographical information (detailed GIS networks, road characteristics, etc), detailed points of interest description in all the potential origin or destination pairs and all the other data that is required for covering the users’ needs.
For the Easytrip routing services, detailed network mapping took place and all the appropriate data was collected concerning frequencies, timetables, stops and terminals for both urban and interurban public transportation systems (trains, taxis, urban and interurban buses). Additional data included average travel time for each itinerary, route timetables, cost information and nearest stop/terminal location.
The points of interest information services, required data relating to entertainment, health and welfare, shopping, tourist attractions, accommodation, restaurants, culture, education, sports centres etc. All the collected information was formed into categories and subcategories in order to facilitate all users’ search procedure. Additionally, parking information and policy in the study area (e.g. pedestrian streets, , streets with parking restrictions, controlled short-term or long-term parking, loading and unloading spaces etc), as well as pricing policy and force hours were collected and digitized.
Except for the extensive data collecting process, a major challenge of the Easytrip platform development was also associated with data management and processing, even at the level before the actual use of data for supporting the provided services to the end users.
In order to support the Points of interest services (POIs), 28.000 POIs were acquired for North Greece. A detailed graphical representation of the network, consisting of approximately 200.000 links for the region of Greece and Bulgaria is used to support the routing services. Additional data were collected by the project partners in order to facilitate individual regions’ requirements.
All data were collected, processed and transformed to a unified efficient data structure, considering the requirement analysis, with respect to quality and integrity of the information. Data are stored in a relation database management system (Microsoft SQL Server).
Different sources of information and amount of data led to the need of creating the appropriate policy for update of the data. Web-based management systems were designed and implemented in order to support the update of data by third-party entities
Funding mechanism, cooperation schemes developed and institutional reforms made
The Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) that has been developed in the framework of EasyTrip: GR-BG E-Mobility solutions project that was funded by the European Territorial Cooperation Programme “Greece-Bulgaria 2007-2013” in order to offer to all travellers of Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria advanced and personalized electronic mobility services. The partnership was:
- Research Institutes
- CERTH/HIT – Hellenic Institute of Transport
- CERTH/CPERI - Chemical Process & Energy Resources Institute
- Bulgarian Cities
- MUNICIPALITY OF BANSKO
- MUNICIPALITY OF KRUMOVGRAD
- Greek Cities
- MUNICIPALITY OF THESSALONIKI
- MUNICIPALITY OF KAVALA
- MUNICIPALITY OF SERRES
- MUNICIPALITY OF THERMI
- TRAINOSE (Greek Railway Operator)
Factors of success
The involvement of local public authorities that are the decision makers (decision makers, bodies that can coordinate local bodies) and the effective cooperation with a research institute able to develop and maintain the web services guaranteed the efficiency and the durability of the services.
Cooperation of actors within the scheme
The services extension for covering new areas is feasible – however it is subject of cooperation among the respective authorities and the developer (CERTH).
Layout or responsibilities among authorities and developers
In order to ensure the sustainability of such a system, close and long-term cooperation between local stakeholders, public transport systems operators, the market representatives and all other interested parties must be achieved. This is the only way to continuously update the databases of the platform and offer up-to-date information to the users. This kind of cooperation can be achieved through the development of specific memorandum of understanding or public and private partnerships between relevant public and private authorities.