Antwerp‘s mobility department Slim naar Antwerpen (Smart Ways to Antwerp) developed a brand new, extensive live navigation for its smartphone app. In this way, the city makes finding alternatives to one’s own car even easier and more attractive to use.
Four new providers of shared scooters, bicycles, scooters and cars have also been added to the existing route planner. In addition, the app now takes into account the current occupation of the new Park and Rides on Linkeroever, at Luchtbal and in Merksem.
This first beta version of the navigation is not yet final, the press release warns. In the coming weeks and months, the app will receive additional adjustments and functionalities that further optimize navigation.
Slim naar Antwerpen launched a very large update this week, which includes live navigation in the route planner. Users will therefore be able to follow in real time after looking up their route and choosing means of transport, and receive information and directions.
No route planner worldwide works out multimodal routes as extensively as those from Smart to Antwerp. The update of the app contains routes on foot, with the (folding) bicycle, e-bike, bus, tram, train, boat, car, shared bicycle, scooter, scooter and car. The many means of transport that the route planner combines made developing the route navigation quite a challenge.
With the new version of the app, the City of Antwerp proves that multimodal navigation is possible in an integrated and user-friendly way. Users are guided through notifications and pop-ups every step of the way.
In principle, every switch is fully automatic, but it is still possible to manually start a previous or next segment. If a route is no longer feasible, the app will suggest an alternative. There is also guidance with current passages, visual indication of the intermediate stops and notifications to get off. As a bonus, users also get to see live weather info for each route.
Alderman for Mobility Koen Kennis (N-VA): “Customized information, here and now, that is what someone who moves in the year 2022 expects. What options do I have? Where do I find them? Will I adapt my means of transport to traffic jams, changing weather conditions, other factors ? A well-informed traveler is worth 2, and faster, safer, more comfortable at their destination.”
During the update, the route planner and the smart map immediately added as many transport modes and providers as possible that launched in Antwerp last year. These are the Cargoroo shared cargo bikes, Lime shared scooters, GO Sharing shared scooters and GreenMobility shared cars. They complement the existing suppliers Velo city bikes, Poppy cars, Cambio cars, Bird scooters and Blue-bike.
Donkey Republic‘s electric shared bicycles will be added in the course of this autumn. Finally, the live occupation of the Park and Rides on Linkeroever, at Luchtbal and Merksem can also be seen, a great added value for the peak times when the Parkin and Rides are used at full capacity.
Navigation is also an important instrument for a safe and liveable city. Cyclists will be reminded to take their bike lights with them and turn them on when moving after sunset.
Users will soon also receive a notification if they drive too fast with their (shared) car or shared scooter.
Of course, it is not the intention that the users of the app are occupied with their smartphone while driving. All instructions are therefore also given via the audio.
Work in progress
Alderman Kennis is proud: “Antwerp is internationally regarded as a city that innovates with mobility solutions and year after year takes further steps to develop them tailored to the users. At the same time, we are also prepared to share our expertise with entrepreneurs and other cities. That is also the case now.”
The way the app is built makes it possible for other applications to use the same resources and integrate mobility in a similar way. The route planner requires a lot of data, which is generated by both the city and other parties. Interested developers can always contact Slim naar Antwerpen to see how they can integrate the underlying services and data into their applications.
The multimodal route planner and navigation is constantly evolving and will be improved in the coming weeks and months. The current beta version is therefore certainly not final. By the way, the users of the app are the best source of information. They can always provide their feedback to the Slim naar Antwerpen team via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media.