Lancaster University is working on a £1.6 million project to create a social networking tool for road and rail users.
Our Travel is a new type of travel information system based on social networking and direct information from transport workers, the UK university says. The aim is to reduce congestion and improve the transport system, by allowing users to share information about their journeys and update each other about delays.
Professor Nigel Davies from the School of Computing and Communications at the university’s InfoLab21 said: “The key is that this is information from other travellers or workers repairing the roads. There is no third party involvement so it’s very direct and from a trusted source.
“Our Travel enables people to create a community of people who share the same journey and who can update each other about, say, a tree on the route or roadworks. You can check your mobile and find out that someone else who has just done your trip into work is reporting flooding under the bridge, or the wrong leaves on the track.”
Our Travel can also be used to inform people of roadworks, winter gritting, and crews carrying out road markings. Once the work is scheduled on the Our Travel system, it informs relevant users of the potential impact on their journeys and enables users to give feedback to companies on how the work has affected them.
Professor Davies said at the moment local news updates or radio travel news only gave a general overview and did not give specific information about a route. “Even motorway signs warning of delays can be out-of-date by the time you drive past.”
Our Travel will be available as an app for mobile devices like iPhones, providing up-to-the minute information so people can decide how and when they will travel.
Our Travel is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board, and developed and trialled by Lancaster University in collaboration with the Morecambe company In Touch Ltd and Carillion plc.
Check out Our Travel