In the new Helsinki Journey Planner, everything is open-source
Six blocks away, the tram is clanking its way towards your stop. You can’t yet see or hear it, but on your smart phone you can see its exact location. You notice that you have enough time to purchase and empty a cup of coffee from a kiosk before your ride arrives.
Helsinki Region Transport HSL has published a new Journey Planner, which offers passengers real-time status information on all buses, trams, commuter trains and the Metro in the HSL area, in a very mobile-friendly format. It guides users on their journeys and plans routes, accounting for the traffic situation and potential disruptions. Passengers will never miss a vehicle because of not getting information early enough. The routing algorithm is multi-modal.
The new generation Journey Planner was introduced in February 2017.
The functionalities and logic of the service interface as well as the base data used serve both locally and nationally. For example, linking public transport data collected by the Finnish Transport Agency to the Journey Planner makes national routes and transport links available in one click.
The new Journey Planner has many more features in addition to the real-time data.
“Our goal is to provide not only real-time but also agile and smart services. For example, users have more choice as to their preferred routes. Passengers can include sections of route travelled by bike or car, if they wish” explains Project Manager Jari Honkonen, who is coordinating the development of the new planner at HSL.
The guiding light in the development of the new Journey Planner has been openness: open source code, open data, open interfaces and open development work.
“The new Journey Planner has been developed using the principles of open data and open code, which means that any private or public actor can use the source code, twist and turn it and create something unheard of. The code can be freely used and improved, provided it is done in such a way that everyone can use the outcome of the work” says Mr Honkonen.
The Open Street Map system used in the new Journey Planner is based on a map created by volunteers. Likewise, the Open Trip Planner algorithm used for routing was created through international voluntary work.
Efficient data interface services are an essential part of HSL’s services. We do not only concentrate on end user interfaces. For example, regarding Digitransit, anyone can develop their own applications based on our data using our APIs. In the case of the new Journey Planner, even the source code is freely usable. We communicate our progress as widely as possible at [www.digitransit.fi-www.digitransit.fi]
The code of the new Journey Planner is published every time something new has been created and, for example, all Finnish municipalities are welcome to join in the development work.
In Finland, also many Mobility as a Service (MaaS) actors are interested in the new Journey Planner. The Journey Planner platform and open source code allow private and public actors to utilize public transport data without limits to create new digital mobility services.
HSL invites all those interested to learn more about the project at [www.digitransit.fi-www.digitransit.fi] and to join the growing developer community.
Updated : March 15, 2017