Journey planning

Journey planning is a form of accessibility model. The core output from journey planning software is the total cost of a journey from one point to another. This is also the primary measure of accessibility. The cost may be measured by time, economic implications, or by any other preferred measure. As journey planning tools already operate in New Zealand, it is important to consider them as a type of accessibility assessment model. Their suitability as an adaptable tool that could be used to assess accessibility in New Zealand should be considered.

Website journey planning typically includes the steps outlined below. Journey planning services available in New Zealand generally follow these steps, with slight variations:

1      A user enters their desired origin and destination (OD) for the journey in the format of a street address or a well-known landmark.

2      The journey planning software attempts to interpret the user’s locations and then returns a list of possible addresses and landmarks for OD locations. At this stage the user confirms their desired locations from the lists created by the software. The user also enters their journey preference, be it by optimising time, cost or avoiding certain vehicle types or locations.

3      The software returns to the user a summary of possible journeys the user can take to reach their destination. These journeys include summaries of time taken, distance travelled, transport modes and total cost of the journey.

4      The user selects their preferred journey and is able to view it in more detail. The detailed journey often includes maps, route numbers and estimated departure and arrival times. The user then has the option of printing or saving the journey.

A review of New Zealand journey planning tools was undertaken in 2008. At that time only three organisations in New Zealand were running web-based journey planning services including Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA)[5], Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and Environment Canterbury (ECAN). Environment Waikato indicated it planned to implement journey planning services in the near future and these are now operational. Other journey planners have since been developed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and commercial operators such as Naked Bus utilising Google Maps.

It should be noted the level of access to information regarding transport options is an important consideration. A high level of transport accessibility is not beneficial to communities if there is little or no information on how to access these transport services. Therefore, the usability and provision of information, as well as the data included on the journey planning websites were reviewed as part of this study.

The three organisations that provide journey planning services were contacted and interviewed. A comparison of the features provided by these organisations in 2008 is shown in table 10.1.


Table 10.1    Comparison of existing journey planning services in New Zealand (2008)

Service inclusion

Auckland Transport

GWRC

ECAN

Service logo

Untitled-1

Untitled-2

Untitled-3

Website

maxx.co.nz

metlink.org.nz

metroinfo.org.nz

Call centre

09 366 6400

0800 801 700

03 366 8855

Bus

Yes

Yes

Yes

Walk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cycle

No

No

Partial

Train

Yes

Yes

N/A

Ferry

Yes

Yes

Yes (1 service)

Tram

No

Cable car

No

Engine software

IPTIS

IPTIS

IPTIS

User interface software

Consultants’ product

Trapeze/AIM

OPCOM JourneyEngine

Journey preference option (cost/distance/time)

Yes

No

Only at initial query

Accessibility impairment options

No

No

No

Real-time data

Text message service for trains only

None

Yes, real-time bus GPS data

Health information calories burnt etc

No

No

No

Environmental information (petrol savings etc)

No

No

No

Vehicle features (super low floor etc)

No

No

No

Maps

Yes

Yes

Yes

Facility locations, (seats, toilets, drinking fountains)

No

No

No

Fare cost (public transport)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Note: GWRC has a separate walking and cycling journey planner that is not included in this review (www.journeyplanner.org.nz).

 

The following sections of this chapter discuss these journey planners in more detail. It is important to emphasise, the services provided by these journey planners may have been updated since the survey was undertaken.