All information about buses, streetcars, trains, boats and plains from one place
National public transport trip planner peatus.ee
The development of the Public Transport Information System (PTIS) consists of four stages. The first stage set out the design of the information system for the preparation and coordination of public transport lines and timetables intended for public transport organisers and carriers (abbreviated as PIKAS in Estonian) and the information and coordination system (abbreviated as TKIS in Estonian).
In the second stage of the project, the trip planning portal peatus.ee for users of public transport was completed. It helps find public transport connections between departure and arrival points chosen by the user. The portal assists public transport users in planning their travel, be it by bus, trolleybus, streetcar, boat, plane, train or all of them together. The system contains the timetables of all county bus lines, long-distance coaches, international coaches and buses of Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Rakvere and Viljandi. In addition, peatus.ee includes information on ferries, domestic flights and trains. One of the future development goals regarding the portal is to include the timetables of the rest of town and rural municipality bus lines.
So far, similar systems have been city-based or service provider-based, but peatus.ee is unique in that it provides all public transport information in one place. One of the reasons why the information system was generated was the objective of contributing to the goals established in the national “Transport development plan 2006–2013” by increasing the popularity of public transport.
Peatus.ee is a neat compromise between user friendliness and functional versatility, offering its users as detailed information as possible without requiring too many actions. For instance, if you enter “Viru” in Tallinn as the Start stop and Kilingi-Nõmme as the End stop, you will get a detailed description of the route – when the tram from the Viru stop for the Bus Terminal departs, how many minutes it takes to walk from one stop to another, which coach takes you to Pärnu and from there to Kilingi-Nõmme. In addition, the portal calculates the time it takes to pass the entire route and offers the possibility of e-mailing your travel plan to your friend. When conducting the route search, users are able to set additional conditions, for example, to determine the maximum walking distance, specify the means of transport they want to use, etc.
In order to increase user-friendliness, peatus.ee is interfaced with the Central Address Data Management System (ADS System) prepared by the Land Board. The system provides peatus.ee with address services. As a result, it is possible to find public transport solutions by entering addresses of departure or arrival points. Using the coordinates of the address entered by the user, peatus.ee finds the closest public transport stops and the fastest connections.
It is possible to search for a route by selecting two random points on the map. Similarly to the address search, the system uses coordinates to find the closest stops and fastest connections. In addition, the desired search results may be displayed on a map and also printed out.
Since public transport timetables are constantly changing, users of peatus.ee can use the notification service: if a timetable they use is changed in the database, they will receive an e-mail informing them about the changes and showing a link to the address where the new timetable is available.
On 28 September 2009, a nationwide advertising campaign promoting peatus.ee was launched. As a result, the portal received an average of 5,000 visitors a day. After the end of the campaign, peatus.ee is visited by about 8,000 people a day.
Registered users of the portal are also able to give feedback to the administrators of the portal. This may be of use if they notice deviations from actual timetables or find faults in the system damaging the ease of use. All the feedback received so far has deserved due consideration and the system has been noticeably improved. The toughest challenge for the portal development team and the Land Board has been the describing of reasonable search algorithms to enable users to plan their trips in both urban and rural areas.
The cost of development of the peatus.ee trip planner was 2.3 million kroons. 77% of the funding comes from the EEA and Norwegian financial mechanisms. The system is developed by a consortium of AS Cybernetica, Affecto Estonia OÜ and EOMap Geodata AS.
The next stage of the PTIS is the development of a ticket sales information system. This means peatus.ee will start to include information on public transport ticket prices in Estonia.