The goal was to create a mobility platform that not only allowed the user to inform oneself about all available means of transport but to even let the customer book, pay and use them. After extensive development the prototype was extensively tested by over 1,000 pilot users. In May 2015 the project officially ended. Here are the results:
The challenge is the combination of individual mobility needs, climate protection and sustainable development. Therefore new or improved means of transport - amongst others electric vehicles -will emerge and grow their share. However, the crucial factor will be the individual choice and possibilities of linking individual and public transport according to our needs.
This is the future of mobility.
The advantages of classic public transportation systems that act as the backbone of our transportation ecosystem will be combined with the values of individual means of transport. To own a private car will have significantly less meaning in urban and metropolitan areas. A wide range of alternatives are offered there: car rental, taxis or car- and bike- sharing. Using – not owning – a vehicle is the trend in mobility.
Today integrated mobility is still many times a complicated matter.
The missing key to integrated mobility was the platform for all means of transport - a single key which would always be in our pockets. Crafting this key was the goal of smile.
The idea of smile was to offer a wide range of different transportation providers with all functions: Information – Booking – Payment – Usage – Billing. A standardized interface (smile Connector) enables all mobility partners to link their technical systems via specific adaptors to provide all their data, including the ticketing.
With the same approach all routing services were connected to the mobility platform: VAO (Verkehrsauskunft Österreich), AIT-Router specifically for e-cars and e-bikes and the toursprung router for bike routes.
Within the application server of the mobility platform all data was consolidated. According to the specific user request the data will be selected and combined to provide the most suitable options for the requested trip (including the actual price). Additionally the users then had the chance to choose an option to book the entire trip – even with several mobility providers – without changing between different apps. The clearing with the Payment Provider was processed in the background.
The smile app is the user interface of the mobility platform. Alongside the “mobile first” trend a setup of a web interface was disregarded. This way smile was always with the pilot users during the pilot operation.
After opening smile the user is informed about available means of transport in the area around the current user location or at any other chosen point in the map. Via tapping the according icons further information can be accessed, e.g. departure times of public transport at a stop, available rental bikes, condition of a car-sharing vehicle or the available charging points in park houses.
For trips from A to B the mobility platform offers different individual options and combinations. These can be sorted by mean of transport, time, price and CO2. With a filter certain means of transport can be filtered individually.
Smile considers season tickets, discounts and memberships e.g. from sharing providers as well as private vehicles which can be saved in the mobility profile. The consideration is working for routing suggestions as well as for the price calculation. For offers depending on the duration of usage or the distance driven (e.g. taxis or car-sharing) an orientation price was calculated. The smile app shows the total price for the entire trip as well as for each segment.
With the „book now“ button the whole trip was booked, reserved and necessary tickets bought from the providers. The secure, cash-free payment process runs completely in the background. After the payment was authorized the tickets will be directly shown within the smile app.
For offers depending on duration of usage or the distance driven the payment occurs after usage, when the final price is known. At the end of a taxi ride a push notification appears on the users’ mobile phone confirming the final price. By tapping it the price is accepted and the ride is paid for. In the last release after many requests non bookable public transportation routes were additionally integrated.
The app was developed and tested for Android 4.1 or higher.
More than 1,000 external persons registered for the pilot operation and extensively tested the platform and its functions. Afterwards all test users were asked to fill out an online questionnaire to evaluate their experiences. 75% stated that they were very content or content with smile. Furthermore the test users sent a lot of feedback regarding future developments and improvements for the app. The research team of the Technical University of Vienna also wondered if the usage of smile led to a more environmentally friendly mobility behavior. In fact 48% of the respondents stated to use public transportation more often, 21% reduced the use of their private cars. Smile also pushed intermodality. 26% combined car and public transportation more often and 26% combined bike and public transportation more often.
Detailed information about the pilot operation and the results of the survey can be found here.
Roughly 140 people with outstanding efforts for around three years put smile from a simple idea into a working prototype. The smile project was initiated by Wiener Stadtwerke. At the core of the project team is a cooperation between Austria's two largest mobility service providers: Wiener Linien (Vienna’s public transport provider, part of the Wiener Stadtwerke group) and Österreichische Bundesbahnen ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways). Together with professional and experienced top companies from all relevant sectors we have pooled our experience, knowledge and expertise and formed a strong project consortium which includes all aspects of mobility, software development and engineering, usability, service and system design, environmental protection and sustainable development, research and project management.
The connection of VAO (Verkehrsauskunft), as well as AIT (e-mobility) and toursprung (bike) to the mobility platform ensured the supply of necessary routing information for all routes. The wide range of routing options was enabled by the project partners Wiener Linien and ÖBB as well as many other renowned mobility partners:
smile was a research project funded by the Climate and Energy Fund of the Austrian Federal Government and is carried out as a part of the third call of the “Austrian Electric Mobility Flagship Projects” programme.
On November 27th, 2014 smile received the PMA Award from „Projektmangement Austria“. The price is designed for project teams that reach outstanding performances and results through project management.
The national mobility price (Staatspreis Mobilität) serves as the highest award of the Austrian Ministry of Transportation, Innovation and Technology. Smile reached the final and was one of the three nominated projects in the category “Research. Development. Showing new ways.” („Forschen. Entwickeln. Neue Wege weisen.“).
At the UITP World Congress and Exhibition in Milano in June 2015, smile was awarded in the category „customer experience“.