A Decision Support System based on Smartphone Probes as a Tool to Promote Public Transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

technology - passenger information, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour, planning - education, planning - environmental impact, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - network design, place - urban, mode - community transport, land use - transit oriented development


Decision Support System, spatial data, GPS assisted smartphone, public transport


In the last few years, the increase in mobility has coincided with an ever greater use of an individual mode of transport. The causes of this situation are imputable not only to a growth in economic wellbeing, but also to an inadequate organization of public transport services that still represent a valid alternative to the car use only in sporadic cases. Recently the research community, local public administrations, national and federal governments focused their attention on methods and techniques able to promote the use of public transport, reducing energy consumption, pollution levels, congestion levels and road traffic. However, in order to make more effective all initiatives to promote public transport, a large amount of information about service network accessible to users is essential. Based on this assumption, this paper presents a Decision Support System that relies on a logical network architecture characterized by the communication paradigm REST and powered by the use, on Client side, of smartphones that today have an enormous social relevance. Key goals of a REST-based platform include scalability of components interactions, generality of interfaces, independent deployment of components and intermediary components to enforce security and reduce latency.

Through the elaboration of a large amount of transportation systems and land use data (Server side) and an user-friendly interface on the client it is possible to simultaneously register users’ behavior on each trip they made (GPS sensors on smartphones allow the storage of the origin, the destination, the temporal window, the used mode of transport, the routes of the trips on the Server) and propose to users travel strategies alternative to car use.

The Decision Support System is based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) structure and it is characterized by interoperability of the entire set of data as well as support the independent Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) web services, such as Web Feature Services (WFS) and Web Map Services (WMS), in order to provide a series of spatial analysis web services via a spatial database back end, as well provide a basis to share spatial data with different data models and from different sources without data conversion.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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