When it comes to Smart Cities, infomobility represents a fundamental aspect for all those who need to get around.
The development of infomobility solutions is part of a continuous and rapidly evolving technological field where the consolidation and convergence of technologies are seen as one of the main methods of handling environmental and security problems.
Today it is possible to travel while remaining informed and constantly updated on where one is going, what can be expected around the corner, which road should be taken to avoid any obstacles, etc.: all of this, through specific innovative services, is infomobility.
The term infomobility basically refers to the adoption of information technologies to support the mobility and movement of people and goods, through continuous interactive and intelligent access to multimedia information supporting the needs that may present themselves in the field of transportation, during working activities and in a person’s spare time.
The goal is to offer tourists and commuters a simple and intuitive tool that allows even those who lack any computer knowledge to obtain information regarding public transportation routes (trains, buses, subways), tourist, museum and entertainment centers, as well as accessible parking.
As far as transportation is concerned, all cities of a certain size have the need to define a strategy capable of ensuring that citizens have a greater freedom of movement, greater security and a greater quality of life.
Public transportation plays a fundamental role in ensuring the economic vitality of urban areas, and it represents an important factor in the well-being of citizens, especially of those who are most vulnerable, such as senior citizens and the disabled, by allowing them to participate in the economic and social aspects of city life.
Information can be broadcasted (for example by using variable message panels placed along main pathways) or it can be requested directly by the user who accesses it based on his or her needs (traffic information, searching for available parking) or specific context (from home by means of the Internet or while traveling thanks to a smart phone).
Infomobility, on one hand helps normal citizens who move through traffic (using a car, motorcycle, or even by bicycle or on foot), and on the other hand it helps those who use means of public transportation (with real-time information regarding bus and train times, or the location of stops), as well as logistic operators and those who transport goods.
Information regarding mobility obviously concerns all citizens, but it concerns other subjects as well: companies that provide information and requested sector; the companies that distribute that information; the companies that design and implement the devices and connectivity necessary for distributing that information to those who require it.
Behind the displayed information there are various actors and functions, from the real-time collection of data regarding vehicles, positions (location of means of transportation), travel times, anomalies/accidents (area monitoring). This data is then analyzed and processed and finally transmitted to the various display devices placed throughout the controlled area.
The basis for a correct and effective infomobility service can be found in the quality of data collected, but also the ability to measure and interpret them, and to process them quickly, since this information has a very brief lifecycle. One could say that it is” perishable information”.
Travel times are essential for infomobility; if on one hand the presence of traffic queues and their length, as well as the presence of road construction or accidents, are essential for those managing the service, on the other hand, from the customer’s point of view, knowing the amount of time required for passing critical situations is often more important than knowledge of the situations themselves: for a driver, knowing when a line will end or, in the case of a person waiting for a bus, knowing when transportation will arrive, are all questions that the concept of “traveling informed” tries to answer.
It is in fact the kind of information that a typical user looks for on the information panels (Variable Message Panels) placed along the roads or on the intelligent computerized signposts (busstop displays) placed at the stops of means of public transportation.
Thanks to the constant development of innovative devices and technologies in the last few years, and thanks to the rapid adoption of satellite navigation systems based on GPS, information regarding mobility and specifically the aspects regarding people (road traffic) and goods (logistics) can be handled in a manner which is ever more complete, widespread and accessible to all.
Traffic conditions change constantly and emergency situations must be handled and alerted in real-time: the solution is the use of variable message panels.
Travelers constantly need to know the position of a bus, wherever they may be: at a bus station, a busstop or while taking an unfamiliar route, the displays provide them with quick updated information.
For every passenger, obtaining information in real-time regarding the times of trains, and subways and buses is a main priority that requires an effective solution to provide easily accessible and legible information whatever the environmental conditions may be. The solutions go from variable message panels to busstop displays.
When drivers reach their destination, they may need to find available parking: parking indicators, which may be accompanied by variable message displays for viewing other information, are the ideal solution for broadcasting such information effectively.