By Osma Ahvenlampi, Kyyti Group CPO
At the beginning of this month, we had the pleasure to see Matkahuolto launch the first national-scale door to door travel service in Finland, to ease planning and booking trips from anywhere in Finland to one of our treasured nature destinations in Kuusamo, including the Ruka ski and sports resorts and the Oulanka national park and its legendary Karhunkierros hiking route. We’ve been happy to build the software powering both the planner engine as well as the DRT service in its last mile services. But this is not all that we’ve been doing. In the background, a lot of work has gone to one of the open source components powering the Kyyti Platform: the OpenTripPlanner 2.0 project.
OpenTripPlanner has a long pedigree in powering multi-modal trip planning in several metropolitan areas. Started by Portland’s TriMet transit agency, it has seen use in New York State, Los Angeles, Virginia and Atlanta, and on this side of the Atlantic, in the Netherlands, Italy and France among others. For the past few years, a major part of its development has been made possible by first the Finnish government and the Helsinki Regional Transit, and then by Norway’s Entur. It’s particularly been Entur’s work in the recent past which has enabled using OTP to power national-scale systems, which connect multiple dense metropolitan transit networks together with intercity services such as bus and rail. These high performance planning algorithms are the core of the 2.0 release, which, while still officially unreleased, is already powering two important production platforms: part of Entur’s own network, and the Kyyti Platform. We are grateful for the work others have put into this development, and wanted to put in our own contribution as well.
We have a long history of building shared-ride on-demand services, with our own Kyyti Kimppa service having transported over 70,000 passengers during its technical pilots in Helsinki, Oulu, Turku and Tampere, and having delivered software platforms to do similar services to both PostAuto in Switzerland, and, with our partner DemandTrans, to cities such as Denver and Los Angeles. This work has given us a perspective on how demand responsive transport (DRT) services operate as part of a larger public transport network, both to support its trunk routes, and to offer flexible services where such routes aren’t possible to operate due to lower passenger density. As we looked at OTP 2.0’s development, we recognised that this would be the backbone where we could provide a robust system for integrating both fully floating or stop-based, flex-routed DRT services into a multimodal planner. This also meant that we needed to make upgrades to the GTFS-Flex v2.1 specification to better describe such services, and extend the spec to cover not just discovering flex services and planning end-to-end routes over them, but to enable booking such transport over an API. This was done in collaboration with Trillium, who have been a great collaborator to us over the years on improving the state of the art on public transport data.
Most of that work has now been integrated into OTP 2.0, and our own ongoing development is published on GitHub. We’re committed to publishing this in the open source, not only to pay back to the community we’ve benefited a great deal from participating in, but also because we firmly believe that public transport is a key service in a modern world, and that it needs to be powered by great software available to all. Our own services, whether that’s the easy-to-implement, hosted Kyyti Trip Planner web service, the Kyyti DRT package for demand-responsive transport, or the fully integrated, multi- and intermodal planning, booking, payments and ticketing Kyyti MaaS platform incorporate this technology and would not exist without the work of those who came before us.
We welcome others to try out the technology available in OpenTripPlanner, and look forward to hearing from you. Should you have a need for this technology, but no development team of your own, we’re here to help.
Our mission at Kyyti is to make the transition to next generation digital mobility as easy as possible. Try out our OTP2.0 based trip planner for only $200/month with no long term commitment!