Today, smartphones are used for many different mobility services that help us to establish convenient routes for public transport and bike trips or for booking carsharing cars. Additionally, smartphones are increasingly substituting e-tickets or boarding passes. In the future, wearable devices such as smart glasses, smart watches, smart rings, smart cards or mobility-supporting systems are also set to be important tools for assisting in public transport (bus, train, tram) use or shared mobility systems (car-, ride-, bikesharing).
The project Guide2Wear aims at evaluating wearable devices and their potential impact and benefit for the future traveller.
Wearable Devices are accessories or clothing items that consist of built-in micro-computers or advanced electronic technologies. They have multiple uses in mobility, healthcare, game-control or connecting with computers and smartphones. Ideally, efficient wearable devices used for public transport should be able to easily guide the user from their starting point to their final destination in a door-to-door manner. These systems should not only provide directions, but give real-time information regarding delays and any complications, alternative routes, alternative transportation options, routes from one platform to another, ticketing options (public transport etc.) or information on car-/bike-sharing. In general, wearable devices should be compact, user friendly, easy to handle and should make travelling less complicated. Smartphones have the ability to perform most of these tasks, however, a major disadvantage to their use is that the user must hold the smartphone in their hand to perform a particular task whereas wearable devices such as smart watches, smart glasses or smart cards do not have to be handled and provide immediate accessible information. This is very practical when, for instance, riding a bike or travelling with luggage.
The state-of-the-art is quite different to the ideal wearable devices described above. For instance, most routing applications and public transport information systems are still smartphone-centred, although there are some projects that use smart watches. Google Glass, which would be applicable for this use, has currently no apps providing public transport information.