In September, the second version of the My-TRAC application was launched. After having run the first pilot in 2019 in Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, the My-TRAC team has been busy revising the app and releasing a new version. Similar to the first phase, the My-TRAC app will be tested by real travellers in the aforementioned countries, who can win prizes and vouchers by participating.
So, what's new in the My-TRAC app? What has been done with user feedback from phase 1? And what will happen after the pilot ends?
To answer these questions, we spoke to Ester Sancho, R&D Project Manager at project partner Experis, who is part of the team developing and testing the My-TRAC app.
To start, can you give us a brief reminder of the My-TRAC application?
My-TRAC is a mobile application that gives journey advice to travellers based on their preferences and profile by applying artificial intelligence and behavioural transport analytics. The app is part of the My-TRAC project, which is funded by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking under the Innovation Programme 4 (IP4). My-TRAC is one of the projects under IP4 that aims to contribute to more attractive railway services for travellers.
By developing this app, My-TRAC aims to contribute to a better journey experience and a seamless multimodal system in Europe.
In 2019 the first version of My-TRAC was launched and in September the second. Can you tell us something about this second pilot?
The second version of the app was launched in September 2020 and will be available until the end of October 2020 for all those users who want to participate in the pilot. This is everyone who regularly uses public transport and owns an Android phone.
Similar to the first phase, My-TRAC allows to organise trips for those users who are going to travel in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Athens, Lisbon or the Netherlands. The active use of the application allows to score points and the most active users will receive prizes, such as vouchers to spend in certain stores, or transport tickets.
How is this version of the My-TRAC app different than the first one?
After the first pilot phase, we have carefully looked at the feedback given by users of the app. The app has evolved in numerous ways. For example several new functionalities have been added, bugs have been fixed, and we have made some changes to the User interface- & User experience-design.
What are some of the new functionalities of the new app?
One new functionality is the creation of Travel Groups, which allows users to form a group and share itineraries. The app provides individually to each user a route to arrive the common destination and proposes activities along the trip.
Another functionality we have implemented is the “social market”, although this is not fully functional. Through this feature, the most active users earn points (the so-called ‘reputation algorithm’) and currently these points will be used to select the users who will win prizes. Users can see their earned points in their profile.
The final aim here is to reward the most active users with discounts or vouchers from third parties that can be exchanged using blockchain. It will be like a strategy to build user loyalty. But again, this is yet to be developed.
Pilot phase 2 ends late October 2020. What are the next steps?
After pilot phase 2, we’ll hold Focus Groups in order to validate the usability of the My-TRAC app, as well as the added value provided by the different functionalities offered by My-TRAC. The feedback collected during the pilot will be used to improve the application, establishing the basis for a development roadmap that will lead us to obtain the commercial version of the application.
And finally, why should someone participate in the pilot?
People should participate in this pilot out of curiosity, to see how this different travel companion can improve their journey. Furthermore they would very much help the My-TRAC team assess the models that are running in the backend and of course, to win tickets or vouchers for the area that he/she is using My-TRAC in!