MultiDEPART: A project to facilitate the deployment of transport services on demand

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Researchers from Barcelona Innovative Transportation (BIT) and from inLab FIB of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC) have worked on MultiDEPART. In the framework of this project, three key tools have been developed for the planning and management of urban mobility, which will help public transport authorities and their operators to adopt and scale transport services on demand (Demand Responsive Transit, DRT) in their areas.

The aim of the Multi-operator tool for managing Demand rEsPonsive trAnspoRT (MultiDEPART) is to respond to the increasing demand for DRT, that is, the provision of a public transport service through flexible routes and timetables, based on real demand gathered from users through digital communication tools (apps) and other types of tools. The concept was already known and has been applied in rural zones (mainly based on telephone calls and manual routing of services). Currently, it has the potential to resolve accessibility in low-demand urban areas due to the digitalisation of public transport and the mass adoption of mobile phone by many segments of the population. This make the creation of flexible routes and timetables easier and more effective, depending on the real demand that is gathered.

The tools that were developed with which to resolve these challenges will be marketed by Capgemini and KMF Ventures and will help operators and transport authorities to deploy transport on demand in cities and metropolitan areas. These tools are:

  • A planning tool to provide strategic information to define the most suitable area, operations and stops, to help to simulate the operation of a DRT service.
  • A dashboard to help public transport authorities and transport operators to assess and manage the various DRT services.
  • A business tool to define whether the establishment of DRT services will be profitable. This includes a report on the various areas that will be affected positively by the employment of the DRT solution, as well as a financial analysis tool to estimate the profitability of the new service.

The project lasted 12 months (March 2021 – March 2022), during which the project members were able to test these tools in 2 pilot tests in addition to that carried out in Barcelona: one in Thessalonica (Greece) and the other in Lisbon (Portugal).

The role of the UPC in this project has been to contribute to the development of the planning tool, along with AIMSUN.

Consortium, budget and funding

The project, which was funded by EIT Urban Mobility with a budget of €944,819, has been developed by a consortium of 12 partners from European countries: the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC), CARNET, FACTUAL, Capgemini Engineering, Carris, Aimsun, Center for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH), Thessaloniki Transport Authority, Tusgsal, Nemi and Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB).


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