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Why do people keep using their cars, even when cheaper, faster and more convenient alternatives exist? One of the reasons is the ease-of-use and flexibility of the private car. It appears as your personal guarantee to door-to-door transport, whenever and wherever you need it. No single sustainable mode has the image of covering a traveller's mobility needs like the private car does. Only in combination, sustainable modes can be a truly attractive alternative to the private car. This e-update will deal with the question of how intermodal Mobility Management services can create accessible and seamless door-to-door transport that can compete with the privately owned car.



Intermodality, multimodality or co-modality?

First, let us clarify our terminology. Intermodality refers to the seamless use of several different modes in one trip chain, for instance as in park and ride. Intermodality can serve as a policy principle or it can be a characteristic of a transport system. Multimodality refers to the use of different modes for different trips, for instance using the bicycle to drive to work and the taxi to go to the opera. Co-modality is a notion introduced by the European commission to achieve an optimum in the transport system by an efficient use of all modes. (Source: LINK project and wikipedia)

Passenger intermodality was the focus of the European LINK project (2007-2010). It gathered hundreds of research reports and case studies and drafted recommendations for policy, standardistation and education.




Interoperability of systems and collaboration between providers is essential, in the fields of travel information, promotion, ticketing and operations. It is a win-win situation for both operators and authorities, as a convenient integrated offer can attract new users and cause modal shift and enhance visibility of all providers involved. In practice, cooperation is often difficult to organise and a typical task for mobility management. In France and other countries, a shift of competencies to the metropolitan areas can create new opportunities for the coordination of services on a more local level.



Intermodal travel information

To enable passengers to make efficient use of a seamless intermodal transport offer, travel information needs to be intermodal as well, and preferably real-time. A lot of cities and regions are already working on this issue. Here are some examples:

  • In the city of Amsterdam, the connection between cycling and ferry boats has been optimised by placing dynamic information panels (DRIPs) (NL) that display departure times of three to four ferry boats. They are installed far enough so cyclists can still adjust their speed in order to catch a ferry that is about to leave.

  • The French city of Strasbourg has integrated real-time information for different modes (parking, car sharing, bike sharing, cycling, public transport) in one interactive website (DRIPs) (FR).

  • The city of Almada, Portugal filled the gaps between the different public transport networks with a new tram. The measure was accompanied by the distribution of an intermodal information guide, both online and on paper, including examples of (touristic, commuting, shopping) trips using multiple modes.

  • The Canton of Zug in Switzerland developed a booklet with excursions for families with children, that connected a set of highly frequented leisure destinations by a chain of sustainable (and fun) transport modes such as train, bus, cycling, walking and boat. During special Action Days, activities such as free rental of skates and a stamp hunt made the excursions even more attractive.

Smart phones present a huge opportunity to tailor travel information to the traveller's needs. The "Take me home" application in Aalborg, Denmark, uses the GPS-technology of the mobile phone to suggest public transport options based on the user's current location.

However promising these developments are, a lot remains to be done to create a trip planner that integrates all available modes and suggests truly intermodal journeys across all modes. An example of a journey planner that includes a lot of different modes and operators is Comment j'y vais in France (region of Basse-Normandie). It actively promotes carpooling when users request an itinerary for a starting point or destination that is more than 5km from a public transport bus stop, and walking or cycling for less than 5km. In the route planner of the city of Rome , accessible to mobile phones, you can opt to search trips by public transport + bike sharing or by a combination of private and public transport.

Special attention should be paid to the disabled travellers when designing information and ticketing systems, like in the Spanish region of Cantabria.

In the framework of the START project on seamless travel across the Atlantic Region, a new multi-modal, multi-lingual travel information portal called INTEGRA is being developed to allow people to travel sustainably in and between the UK, France, Spain and Portugal. Local and regional transport authorities, operators and tourism bodies from these countries are invited to join the network.

Read more about real-time travel information in our e-update on ITS.



Cycling to public transport

The bicycle is the ideal mode for covering the first or last mile of a public transport trip. More and more services are developed to cater for cyclists switching to public transport, both in the field of infrastructure and of additional services. In Chambéry, France, a large bike station was built in 2002 near the railway station to boost the number of intermodal trips. It offers additional services like guarded bike storage, free bicycle check-ups and bike rent. On several locations and park and ride facilities in the wider region, bike boxes were installed for people who come into the city by car and would like to switch to the bike at a certain point.

In Funchal, Portugal, citizens are sceptical to cycling due to the hilly geography of the city. In the framework of the CIVITAS program however, bicycle racks were added to the vehicles of three bus lines, allowing cyclists to take their bike on the bus for free.

Not everyone has the opportunity to use his or her own bike. More and more cities and transport providers install bike sharing systems or bike rental services at or near railway stations and other public transport stops - supporting intermodality. In contrast, the London Cycle Hire Scheme chooses not to put their stations near train stations. As surveys show that the greatest demand for shared bikes is with commuter who come to London by train, the rush for cycles in the vicinity of the main railway stations would be far too high. The scheme will be integrated with the Oyster Card ticketing system of the public transport network. Transport for London thus supports multimodality and hopes to increase the modal share of cycling in London to relieve the overcrowded metro and buses. Another scheme that should contribute to this purpose, is the Legible London scheme. It helps people to find their way easily around the city with strategically placed maps and signs. It is integrated with other transport modes, including bus stops, metro stations and taxi ranks, so when people are leaving one mode of transport they can quickly identify their onward route, preferably by foot. Legible London details the landmarks they will pass on their journey and shows the time it will take to reach their destination.

In the Belgian region of Wallonia, passengers can subscribe to a season ticket for the bus that includes the rent of a folding bike (Cyclotec (FR) - video). The subscription costs 415 Euro to 670 Euro a year, depending on the distance covered by the bus ticket.

In cycling country the Netherlands, the public bike called "OV-fiets" (PT-bike) is a very successful national service managed by the Dutch railways, managing about 5000 bicycles achieving almost 1 million trips per year. The brand emphasises the integration of the bicycle and public transport. If you already own a train card, you do not need an additional subscription card. A new service called OV-fiets@home allows commuters to take a public bike home in the evening and return it the next morning. They can also keep it for the weekend. This type of subscription costs just 15 Euro a month.



Do not forget about carpooling and car sharing!

As some parts of certain trips will always require the use of a car, carpooling and car sharing are essential in a sustainable intermodal and multimodal transport system. In the French department of Finistère, carpooling is stimulated by an appealing matching website and by the installation of high-quality carpool parkings, located near a bus stop and equipped with bicycle racks. The matching service is also available on the route planner of the public transport network. The city of Bremen, Germany, is one of the precursors of car sharing in Europe. Since 2003, they have installed ten intermodal car sharing stations in the city, called "mobil.punkte" (mobile points). They are each located near a public transport stop and include bicycle racks and sometimes a taxi stop. Multimodal travel information is available at each station.



Combined ticketing

Simple and comfortable combined ticketing and integrated pricing of different public transport providers is essential for making public transport attractive. In some cities, it is still necessary to buy different tickets for different operators, while for instance in London there is the rechargebable Oyster card automatically calculating the best fare and usable for all public transport modes in the city. The Dutch have introduced a similar system for the whole country.

Another challenge is to incorporate other modes like bike sharing and car sharing into a unified ticketing system. A great example of the latter is the Hannovermobil card. It is a season ticket for the local transport network of the greater Hannover that is upgraded to a full-blown mobility card for an extra 6,95 euros a month. It gives access to car sharing and a discount on taxis, car rental, a bicycle parking in the city centre and the German railways. All transactions made with the card, are charged at the end of the month in one common "mobility bill". The momo project on car sharing produced a fact sheet on the cooperation between car sharing and public transport.

Ideally, there will be one national, or even European-wide multi-modal ticketing system. The Interoperable Fare Management Forum, managed by UITP, strives to realise the full interoperability of ticketing and information systems in Europe. That it is possible, has already been demonstrated to some extent in the IFM project (final brochure).
The project was the direct result of the UITP Focus Paper Everybody Local Everywhere.

In France, Certu has launched the portal website (FR) that disseminates research results and best practices in the field of automated and combined ticketing. Transport provider TAN in the city of Nantes, France, has created an easy-to-understand and userfriendly ticketing system. You can choose between a 1h ticket or a 24h ticket that gives you access to all modes in the greater Nantes (tram, bus and the trains of operator TER). Other tickets exist that also include access to the transport offer in the wider region (department of Val de Loire). In the French region of Rhone-Alps, travellers can load transport tickets from different networks on the same OùRA! smart card, sometimes at multimodal rates. The same card can be used for related services like bike rental, bike parking and car park access.

In the ski resort of Maribor, Slovenia car trips were reduced by offering holders of a ski pass a free bus ride to the ski lift. At present, the Slovenian ministry of transport is implementing a project that should realise an unified ticket and a single time schedule system for trains and buses in the country by 2013. The improvement of the public transport system will be accompanied by awareness raising and training activities.



ICMA project on door-to-door transport

The ICMA project (Improving Connectivity and Mobility Access) focuses on the effective delivery of door-to-door transport services which will enable users to complete the first and last miles of their journey home without the need to use a private car. The project will deal with the costs and pricing of multi-modal and demand responsive transport (Economics), the use of ICT to improve services (Technology), the skills improvement of clients (e.g. target groups with reduced mobility) and mobility management staff (Skills), and connection of urban and rural areas with demand responsive services (Connections). ICMA recently started up a cluster project SYNAPTIC, together with the EU projects sintropher, BAPTS and RoCK.



UITP Combined Mobility Platform

UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, believes that, to keep up with the needs of modern urban life, public transport should become true mobility providers by developing intermodal strategic partnerships and alliances with taxis, bikes and car-sharing, parking facilities, information providers and all major mobility generators. Read more about the UITP position in their new Focus Paper, Becoming a real mobility provider. It is in line with the UITP PTx2 strategy, which aims to double the market share of public transport by 2025.

To advocate this view, UITP founded the Combined Mobility Platform, consisting of UITP members. The purpose of the platform is to convince public transport organizing authorities and operators of the benefits of combined mobility services. The Platform also aims at showing what services should be added in their product portfolio to become true mobility providers. In its newest publication, "A Vision for Integrated Urban Mobility: Setting up your Transport Authority", UITP describes how to set up a professional and well-organised public transport authority, whose competences go beyond the traditional duty to organise public transport and as such, has the competency to realise a truly integrated, sustainable urban mobility.



Upcoming events

  • Momo Car-sharing Final Conference"
    15 September 2011 - Brussels, Belgium

  • PIMMS TRANSFER & EPOMM-Plus Network Meeting
    4 October 2011 - London, UK

  • Transnational Forum - START project
    27- 28 October 2011 - Lisbon, Portugal

For more events, please visit the EPOMM Calendar.


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