Planning Protected Passenger Transfers with the MAIOR Suite

Journey connections take place when two generic modes of transport synchronize their schedules to allow passengers to go from point A to point B using different means. More in detail, trip connections can be seen as the correspondence between the arrival of a means of transport and the departure of another, for the continuation of a journey.

Trip connections can occur both between vehicles of the same mode of transport, e.g. between a journey of line 1 and a journey of line 3 of a bus public transport service, and between vehicles of different modes, e.g. between the arrival of a train and the departure of a bus.

"A journey connection occurs when two vehicles, such as buses, streetcars, subways or trains, meet at a certain point in the transportation network, such as train stations or bus stops, and allow passengers to get off one vehicle and onto the other." - Francesco Giannelli, member of the Research & Development group at M.A.I.O.R.

In order to manage these connections for public transportation passengers, it is necessary to take into consideration not only the timetables and the network of the various transport services that you want to connect but the structure of the area, including the footpaths between the various points of the network. In fact, it is fundamental to know how one can move on foot between the stops of the various modes of transport (train station, bus stop, metro station, etc.).

An example of a simple trip connection could be the one that takes place in a suburban bus stop where a bus of the main bus line arrives and from which, 10 minutes later but from the same bus stop, a bus of a secondary line of the same operator passes, taking the user to his destination.

A slightly more complex example could be that of a bus station where the user arrives with the bus of one operator and moves on foot inside the bus station to reach a different stall from which he will take a bus of a different operator. In this case, the time needed to walk the distance between the arrival and departure points must also be considered in the connection.

Finally, as an even more complex example, we could imagine a large metro station such as Milan's central station, where, in a small area, even on different physical levels, we find stops for regional trains, high-speed trains, buses, and the metro. In this case, the connection is even more complicated because it may involve the use of treadmills, elevators, or even leaving the station structure to go to the squares in front and take a bus.

The MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite allows you to manage all types of connections, from the simplest to the most complex. For example, the stations in the last example are defined through a concept of "stop zones", the areas that make up the station, such as high-speed platforms, subway platforms, or bus stands are defined through "stop areas", while the paths that connect the train platforms or bus stops are defined by the "footpaths" mentioned earlier.


Travel Planner and Passenger Connections

Several travel planners, in order to plan for example a trip from one's home to the nearest university, calculate routes by taking advantage of connections and considering all available types of transportation, combining them with walking routes, to find mobility solutions for the user.

"In the case of end-of-service trips, passenger transfers become critical for passengers. In case of missed connection on the last trip in fact it could happen that passengers lose the possibility to reach their destination. That's why good passenger transfer planning can significantly improve everyone's quality of life.- Francesco Giannelli, member of the Research & Development group at M.A.I.O.R.

With the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite, it is possible to create and manage passenger connections at all stages of the service planning. Through a special tool, it is possible to monitor and manage by time band and day of the week the created passenger transfers even after revisions or urgent service changes, in order to always ensure error-free scheduling.

Passenger transfers management in the service planning phase to meet mobility needs

Trip connections are often managed only at the end of the service planning process and only as information to be provided to users on the basis of routes that have already been defined. It is clear although, that there may be needs that require adequate planning to ensure a good service to passengers from the beginning of the service planning process. For this reason, in the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite, passenger transfers can be planned at the timetable design phase of the various public transport services, to guarantee indeed a higher quality of service and to meet the needs of users, and to create a protected passenger transfer.

Passenger transfers management in the service planning phase to meet mobility needs

Designing Timetables to ensure Trip Connections within your Network

In the case of high-frequency, such as urban services, the problem of passenger transfers is less important since, even when small delays occur, passengers have a later journey in the short term. On the other hand, in clock services, it is essential to ensure that two journeys are scheduled to coincide and remain so, even when timetables are changed.

"In order to create the protected passenger connections, it is necessary to link two trips together in the timetable design phase. This way, when the scheduled trips are changed, the system automatically checks that the passenger connections are still valid. The passenger transfers then represent constraints on the scheduled service, and software users are alerted when the operations they are doing on the schedules impact on connected trips, putting passenger transfers at risk." - Francesco Giannelli, member of the Research & Development group at M.A.I.O.R.

In the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite, the protected passenger transfer creates a link between two trips at a certain point, on a certain stop, so that if one of those trips is changed, or if the underlying network is changed (moving stops, or increase in transfer time for passengers, etc.) the system automatically notifies the service planner of the connection violation.

In the MAIOR suite it is possible to schedule connections between two journeys, even of different services, such as buses, tramways, streetcar, subway, on-call services, trains, and to have the guarantee that any change to the timetable managed with the system does not invalidate the scheduled connections without the planner being immediately notified.


Coordinating passenger connections between two different transportation systems

It often happens that public transport services are scheduled considering trains arrival or departure times. In these cases, service planners try to guarantee users timetables that allow passengers to arrive in time to get trains or to transport travelers who have just arrived by train and need to reach their final destination. Careful planning helps minimize long wait times at the station and increases satisfaction among passengers who are increasingly looking to optimize their commute times.

“Timetable planners try to ensure that everyone who has to take a train, has a bus route that allows them to do so, and that everyone who gets off the train, can take a bus that can take them to their destination. In these contexts, trip connections must be tied, in the sense that the railway company creates the timetables by optimizing its resources, while the company offering the bus service, takes the train timetables as input, builds the bus timetables guaranteeing passenger connections. This is an additional service to passengers because it is guaranteed that certain connections will exist.- Francesco Giannelli, member of the Research & Development group at M.A.I.O.R.

With the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite, it is possible to create passenger connections between different types of public transportation, and even if the services are provided by different companies. In this way, in case of changes to the service planned using the Timetable module, the system automatically checks that the connections are respected.


Export of passenger transfers in GTFS format

Nowadays, one of the needs of passengers is to know the best routes to reach a destination, taking advantage of all available transport services. Often, both regular passengers and tourists take it for granted that they will find their own mobility solution using services such as Google Maps (Transit). But, in order for these systems to find optimal solutions, it is necessary that they are given the necessary information, relating to the transport network, the location of stops, and the timetables of service runs.

It is usually the public transport authorities or agencies that are responsible for publishing the data to users, i.e. exporting the data to travel planners. The MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite allows public transport authorities and agencies, but also transport companies, to be able to automatically export data in GTFS format through a native system interface.

In order to give more precise information to passengers, it is also possible to provide travel planners with information on connections built with the MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite.

Trip connections as an opportunity

The management of connections represents an opportunity for agencies and public transport companies to offer a better and more attractive service to passengers, who increasingly want to take as little time as possible to reach their destinations and want to minimize both waiting times and time spent in public and potentially crowded places.

The MAIOR Transit Scheduling Suite offers an advanced tool for planning and management of connections that allows to model connections considering both different transport modes and complex network infrastructures. The system also ensures the correct information on connections both internally in the drivers' shifts and to the public through print-outs on the platform or through GTFS exports.

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