Data Acquisition

Helsinki Transport Uses Open Source Code for Trip Planner App

19 April 2017

The Helsinki metropolitan transportation authority released a new version of its Journey Planner, which is based on open-source code.

Ongoing development of the tool is designed to be collaborative and involve developers, the general public, and other cities' transportation authorities. Among others, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is testing the source code.

The Journey Planner has been developed using the principles of open data and open-source code, with open interfaces. It utilizes available open-source code routing tools. The maps are based on OpenStreetMap, which is a crowdsourced map site. All Journey Planner data is available as open data, so any public- or private-sector actor can use it to develop new digital services.

(Try Journey Planner yourself.)

Helsinki's updated trip planner includes the user's location and use of real-time data. When the user enables location services on a mobile device or computer, the Journey Planner shows the real-time status of nearby public transportation services. The user can see nearby stops on a map, the services available at those stops, and when the next services will depart. Users can also track their journey as they travel.

With location services enabled, route searches are made by entering only the destination. The Journey Planner offers alternative routes using the entire Helsinki metropolitan area transportation fleet, which includes buses, streetcars, the Metro subway system, and commuter trains. The Journey Planner removes routes with disruptions, and alerts the user of any disruptions on the route. If necessary, it can change the routing during the trip.

Users can personalize their Journey Planner by saving their favorite locations and by choosing their preferred modes of transportation. They can adjust the number of transfers and the transfer margin, enter their walking speed, and include legs of journeys made by car.

The Journey Planner will also integrate the Helsinki bike-share system once this seasonal service is resumed in May, so route suggestions can include bike share. The Journey Planner shows the location of bike-share docking stations, the number of bikes available at the stations and, for example, when it is faster to use a bike than to wait for a streetcar. In addition to being included in the Journey Planner, the Helsinki bike-share system can be used with the city's travel card, so bike share is fully integrated with the rest of the public transportation system.

The Journey Planner is one of the most popular digital services in Finland with 150,000 daily users.

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