Locomote simplifies the paths of public transport users
par Julien de Labaca | 11.23.11
After learning of the difficulties encountered by their friends in search of easily accessible housing, two developers took a stab at solving the problem with Isokron. Soon thereafter, the young entrepreneurs began tackling passenger information with their second creation Locomote, a route planner coupled with real-time passenger information.
Locomote is a mobile application offering a multimodal route planner that allows users to compare several possible paths and choose the one most suited to their needs: sporty, quick, comfortable or accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, it integrates real-time passenger information by aggregating the messages exchanged by Twitter users, those sent directly by users of the application, and alerts from official sources.
Behind these innovative features lies an optimized algorithm that allows Locomote to calculate and quickly offer the best routes to users. The only drawback: like many similar applications, Locomote bases its estimates solely on official schedules of the RATP and SNCF because these transport giants do not yet allow developers to access their real time data.
Building an economic model
Completely free to users, the application has had to carve out its own business model. Often, transport organizing authorities are fond of innovations, but rarely want to get their hands dirty. The two developers have decided to work directly with public transport operators with the end goal of offering Locomote to all communities. How? Isokron is signing an agreement directly with the operator (at the national level), where each participating network pays a licensing fee to access the application. Thus, the operator can offer this innovative system within it’s own network or in connection with public utilities delegations.
Note that to reach its maximum level of efficiency, Locomote has a few essential prerequisites: the presence of a multimodal network (bus, subway, bicycle, car sharing …) and a critical mass of Twitter users to relay key passenger information (for example in Paris, more than 100 tweets are posted daily on Locomote, while in Rennes, despite the strong operator presence on social networks, this figure is much lower).
Plans for the future
Isokron already has several optimization ideas for the tool and the model. The objective of the company is to continue to develop innovations to make travel easier for users, while remaining independent and open. It wants to continue to provide a specific tool utilizing traveler info and real-time technology and create mobile applications that truly meet user demands. This user-centered and multi-facetted approach differentiates Isokron from its competitors today.
In the future, thanks to the opening up of transport data, Locomote will be able to more accurately assess itineraries in real-time: the application will be able to advise a user, who has a specified departure time slot, the precise time at which he or she must be on the move. Other developments are underway, such as the integration of real time self-service bicycle availability. Finally, the team is continually working to make the application’s design ever more playful, inspired no doubt from the world of gaming.
Translated by Genny Cortinovis
Photo credit: Julie Rieg / Chronos