University students told to share travel information on smartphone app

New travel app can help researchers reduce traffic congestion to and from University of Malta by learning more about how students and staff commute

The app will use data from smartphone users who share their travel information when commuting to and from University
The app will use data from smartphone users who share their travel information when commuting to and from University

A team of university professors and students are studying the behaviour and travel options of commuters using a mobile app, to share as much information as possible towards solving congestion and parking problems.

‘VJAĠĠ’ is an initiative of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development and its Green Travel Plan, which the university supports.

The app will use data from smartphone users who share their travel information when commuting to and from University, be it student or staff.

The team behind the app says that the data will be used towards a university project for a shared demand-responsive transport service.

“The service is envisaged to contribute to the mix of travel options for individuals, with the ultimate objective of reducing the dependence on private car use. This will eventually contribute to lessening the problems of congestion, pollution and parking, whilst contributing to a better quality of life,” the university said.

The pilot project, launched earlier this year with the support of Vodafone Malta Foundation, aims at developing a system software, a web portal and a mobile app and the service will offer a shared, door­‐to­‐door transport service on demand to staff and students attending the University.

The VJAĠĠ app will be a stepping stone in order for the team to be able to study and develop the services on the field.

When the complete project is set up, service bookings will be able to be made by means of a phone call, text message or through the internet and up to an hour before service is required, according to Vodafone.

A vehicle then would reportedly pick up and drop off passengers at the requested origins and destinations.

“This project is seen as an opportunity for the University of Malta and the Vodafone Malta Foundation to be pro-active and deliver concrete actions in targeting one of the more pressing issues that the Islands are facing at the moment,” the university said.

“The service is envisaged to contribute to the mix of travel options for individuals, with the ultimate objective of reducing the dependence on private car use. This will eventually contribute to lessening the problems of congestion, pollution and parking, whilst contributing to a better quality of life.”

The Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development is coordinating this project, which is being led by Professor Maria Attard, director of the Institute and faculty member of the Department of Geography and Professor Adrian Muscat, faculty member of the Department of Communications & Computer Engineering within the Faculty of ICT.

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