The Informed Railroad Traveler (Smartphone application)

UIC Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UIC-R03
Project TitleThe Informed Railroad Traveler (Smartphone application)
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Project ManagerShabana
Principal InvestigatorWolfson
PI Contact InformationPhone: (312) 996-6770 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$76,666 UIC in-kind; $76,666 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$153,332
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-05-01
End Date2016-01-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectPassenger rail usage critically depends on passengers' ability to transition from/to other transportation modes. This project will develop a smartphone application that enables seamless integration between rail and other transportation modes and thus promotes the attractiveness of passenger rail. The application, called Rail Traveler Assistant (RTA), presents options to transition to/from rail, finds parking spaces and cabs at station, informs of delays/outages and next train, and navigates through station to the right platform. The project will explore a crowd-sourced solution for sharing transition related information among rail travelers. The solution builds mobile communities using social media (e.g., Twitter) and mobile peer-to-peer communication (e.g., WiFi). The solution exploits the capability of social media to scale to millions of users and constant streams of publications/subscriptions. This scalability would be expensive to reach if the system was to be built from scratch. In developing RTA the project will study the following research issues: (1) Organization of social networks. Find proper mapping between the organization of social networks and the spatio-temporal domains that are of interest to travelers. (2) Trust management. How to distinguish between truthful and false publications? The project will investigate and review existing work on dealing with data trust issues and adapt and apply available techniques to RTA. (3) Publication Ranking. Travelers are presumably on the move all the time. For the sake of convenience and safety, it is desirable to minimize the interactions required between the traveler and RTA. One way to minimize interactions is to rank publications such that the most relevant ones are presented to a user for viewing, commenting, or editing. (4) Incentive mechanisms. We will study incentive mechanisms to stimulate users to participate in the social networks.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-UIC-R03-Combined.pdf