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SCORE Project: PTM

Title: Personalized Travel Monitor

Sponsor: Matteo Rossi

More and more applications are available, provided for example by transport operators such as railway companies, metropolitan of regional transportation authorities, that provide real-time information to users when disruptions occur in their networks. Typically, however, these applications provide generic information, in a “one size fits all” approach, where every user receives the same notifications.

The goal of the project is to develop a system that allows users to receive targeted, personalized information only when their routes of interest are affected by the disruptions, and only at the right time (for example, a disruption that occurs in a metro line when the user is out of town is of no interest to the user). The students are expected to identify one or more transport operators of interest, identify the available sources of information concerning disruptions (which might also be user-generated information spread through social networks, possibly through functions available on the application itself), and to create a system that provides users with information that is as accurate, timely and personalized as possible. Students are encouraged to interact with transport operators and potential users of the system to gather their expectations and needs concerning such a system.

Project Description

The advent of mobile devices, which allow users to receive services while on the move, has naturally led providers of transport services and mobility-related companies to create applications that allow travelers to stay informed about events, especially disruptive ones, that occur along transport networks. However, these applications are typically restricted to monitoring a single network (or the services of a single operator), and/or deliver notifications that are not user- and context-specific. As a consequence, a user of local transportation services (metro/bus/tram lines) will typically receive notifications even when she is not in town, whereas a user of a long-distance service can monitor the situation of a specific service (e.g., a specific long-distance train, or an airplane), but it is not often that she is able to receive real-time “push” notifications when her trip is disrupted.

The goals of the project are the following:

To achieve the goals of the project, an analysis of available sources of information concerning the status of the transport services of interest should be carried out. Given that information concerning the status of a transportation network is typically proprietary, and not always readily available, if the analysis of data sources reveals a difficulty in accessing the required data, then risk-mitigating actions must be considered (e.g., generating synthetic data).

Given the user-centeredness of the whole idea of the disruption notification system, teams tackling the project should make an effort to identify, possibly with the help of user surveys, the kinds of information and the mechanisms and timings of notifications that travelers find more useful.

Project Scope

A team tackling this project should address all aspects of the project.

Process Requirements

There are no specific requirements on the process to be followed.

Environmental Constraints

There are no environmental constraints.

Level of Sponsor Involvement

I am willing to interact with teams who select this project to clarify their doubts and provide feedback about what is expected of the application. However, on issues concerning the user experience with the application, such as the kinds of information to be delivered, or the way to notify users, teams are advised and encouraged to find potential users and interact with them to determine their needs and expectations.

Sponsor contact: matteo (dot) rossi (at) polimi (dot) it (please add [SCORE18-PTM] as a tag to the message)

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