The Galileo For Mobility demo will aim at alleviating traffic congestion in the city centre by reducing commuting trips from two zones located to the east of the city. The mobility pilot in Thessaloniki will be based on a taxi/ride-sharing service provided by Taxiway. A fleet of 20 taxis will collect passengers from the Thessaloniki suburbs and provide a return trip to the city centre. To concentrate trips in as few vehicles as possible the origin and destination of each journey will be recorded throughout the trial period. The taxis will work on a flat rate basis, mostly funded by the project. After Galileo For Mobility, the service provision will continue and the number of taxis will increase, while the costs will be covered through MaaS credits purchased by Taxiway users.
The two target zones are composed of four municipalities in total, each with different characteristics such as the service of alternative transport modes (buses mostly) and with respect to socio-economic characteristics:
Municipality of Thermi (suburb 1):
Thermi is located on the eastern side of Thessaloniki, 15 km away from the city centre, and covers an area of 385.3 km2 from the south-eastern coast of Thermaikos gulf to the mountains of Hortiatis and Holomontas. The population of the municipality is 53.070 (2011 census) and it consists of three municipal units: Thermi, Mikra and Vasilika. The airport of Thessaloniki “Macedonia”, which serves both national and international flights, is located in Thermi making the area a commuter hub of 1.3 million visitors in 2013.
Kalamaria (suburb 2):
Kalamaria is located on the coast, 7 km southeast of the centre. It is one of the largest municipalities in terms of population both in Thessaloniki and Greece. It is the third largest municipality in Thessaloniki’s greater Metropolitan area with 91,279 inhabitants (2011 census) and covers an area of 7,2 km2. However, it is estimated that the real population of the area is more likely around 120,000 inhabitants. The neighboring municipalities are Pilea-Hortiatis to the southeast and Thessaloniki to the north while sea surrounds the northwest. Kalamaria is divided into several districts, namely: Kifisia, Karampournaki, Kouri-Katirli, Aretsou, Nea Krini, Ag.Ioannis, Bizantio, Ag. Pandeleimonas, Navarxos Votsis, Foinikas, Derkon.
The municipality has a good public transport network, which services the city centre. There are fewer connections to the other areas, so the use of public transport is lower, especially in Thermi, where only one bus connects the city centre after one change in a peripheral hub. Car ownership is high in these areas, which is why Galileo For Mobility will be introduced as an alternative.
These predominantly suburban municipalities are out of the urban core. There are also some areas within these municipalities, which belong to the exurb area of Thessaloniki. Within the suburban area, there is limited possibility to reach the city centre without using private cars, especially at night, because public transportation does not operate after midnight. The Galileo For Mobility service can provide a comfortable and cost-effective “home to work” and “home to leisure” solution for suburban residents. Furthermore, citizens from exurb locations can reach the suburbs by ride sharing and can reach their final central destination by using public transport (or continue with the shared taxi until their destination).
One major aspect for a successful Living Lab is the promotion campaign to attract users. The communication action plan should focus on convincing potential users to leave their private car and shift to a more environmentally friendly mode of transport. The power and influence of social media and the internet are indisputable. In this way, promotion through social media and the municipalities’ or other local websites will be vital to persuade private car owners. Moreover, information leaflets at the main central areas of the four municipalities, and in the central Thessaloniki, will explain the solution to potential users and encourage their use. Radio spots in particular will attract the attention of private car users.
The service will exploit the benefits provided by Galileo in order to accelerate the collection of passengers by taxi drivers (better accuracy in positioning), determine the O/D and distance of trips for users and drivers, and characterize driving behavior. Hybridization with available 802.11p Road-Side units to improve positioning will be explored.
Two partners are involved in the Thessaloniki pilot.
- CERTH/HIT provide the back-office service responsible for matching requests to available vehicles as well as adapting and integrating project components to the Thessaloniki pilot. Synergies with the public transport on demand pilot in Barcelona will be maximized, since some modules might be re-used for both pilots.
- Taxiway are responsible for integrating the service into their dispatching service as well as offering the mobility services to end-users in Thessaloniki.