BONVOYAGE seeks to achieve the general goal of optimizing multimodal door-to-door transport of passengers and goods, easing interoperation between all involved players.
The request of a “user” (be it a person or a parcel) to travel from source to destination is managed by the system with several tools: Metadata Handler collects and elaborates data related to the request and generates a corresponding Context; User Profiler creates a personalized profile, conveying requirements including Quality of Experience parameters and special needs; Multi-Objective Optimizer develops personalized travel instructions, optimal for the Context and User Profile. The user may give feedback, before accepting the travel itinerary. If a trip is not available at request time, the user is notified if it becomes available later on. An Actuator triggers the necessary services. A Tariff Scheme Designer exploits platform data to define multi-part tariff schemes.
The overall general goal includes six specific technical objectives:
1. Multi-objective optimization
Development of an advanced multi-objective optimization algorithm to provide an optimal multi-modal travel itinerary by properly trading-off several simultaneous sub-objectives, namely travel schedule, travel duration, travel cost, travel emissions, overall travel reliability, load capability, type of goods, etc. This optimization is performed by simultaneously taking into account several inputs: (i) non-real time characteristics (e.g., coverage, routes, schedules, type of goods,…) of the candidate transportation means (e.g., public transport such as bus, train, boat, taxi, airplane; private transport such as car, bicycle, walking, cooperative modes like car-sharing, trucks), (ii) real-time requirements (e.g., traffic congestion, temporary road barriers, lane closures, temporary speed limits, new stops as a result of customers’ requests (not the same day but some days in advance), available space and weight to complete the load etc.), (iii) user profiles and users feedback (see the “Personalization” issue below), (iv) dynamic tariff schemes (see the “Tariff scheme” issue below)
Personalization of the services offered by the platform, aimed to meet, as far as possible, specific user preferences, needs and expectations in terms of travel schedule, travel duration, travel cost, transport means, travel reliability, etc. Personalization is performed, on the one hand, on the basis of an automatic mapping of each user to the most appropriate user profile corresponding to given parameters which are used in the framework of the optimization mentioned, and, on the other hand, on the basis of the automatic interpretation of the feedback provided by each user, as well as by users belonging to the same profile. Wearable electronics and eHealth devices will be used to provide real-time automatic feedbacks under the form of participatory sensing, to monitor the wellness of the travellers and possibly change or adapt the on-going trips
3. Tariff Schemes
Design of a tool aimed at providing tariff schemes which, on the one hand, encourage the use of specific classes of mobility and delivery services (e.g., those with a lower environmental impact, type of good), and, on the other hand, create new business opportunities for the transport operators, which can offer special prices for multimodal travel allowing them to increase the exploitation of their transport resources. The goal is to integrate the tariff scheme tool in the multi-objective optimization framework, possibly allowing dynamic changes and re-negotiations during the trip
Natural and simple interoperation among heterogeneous transport operators. The interoperation is designed to be technology-independent, so that it can work with any transport operator, regardless of the technology the operator adopts for data acquisition/storage, the database organization or its data format
5. Internames Communication System
A pivotal feature in BONVOYAGE consists of an Information-Centric Network (ICN) aiming at providing (i) seamless connectivity across different existing network realms (that may be administered by distinct transport operators or authorities); (ii) native support of mobility and security issues; (iii) travel-centric primitives for push/pull based services; (iv) high efficiency in communication and processing operations; (v) graceful deployability and interoperability with existing and upcoming networking systems (i.e., 5G and beyond). The highly heterogeneous, distributed and mobile nature of the data of interest, coming from data-centers, sensors, vehicles, goods and people on the move, calls for a network that is able to go beyond current paradigms. Our network, called Internames, allows name-to-name communication, without a static binding of end-points or users to their current location; in Internames names are used to identify all entities involved in communication: content, users, devices, logical points, and services. For instance, a sensor providing traffic information is identified by a name; a traveller is identified by a name; a database content is identified by a name; train, buses, cars, bicycles, planes, are identified by names; a transport service and an itinerary are identified by a name. All communications among such entities happen between names; it is the task of Internames to locate where such entities are located at a given time and to map name to location in a dynamic, context-dependent way, and to map a name not only to a current location but also to a protocol/service/communication type. In addition, the Internames architecture allows for requests from users to be treated as a subscription that is maintained in the network, so that e.g. when an itinerary at an appropriate tariff becomes available, meeting the requirements of the user (e.g., schedule including data and time of travel, quality of experience etc.), the network may then notify the user. This allows for dynamic ‘matchmaking’ between users (people, goods) wishing to travel from a starting point to a destination and the (potentially dynamically) demand-response based scheduled transport of selected groups of transport/mobility operators
6. Security and privacy
User profiles are certainly very useful (one could say needed) to program and optimize travels; however they imply an obvious threat to the privacy of users, who will be reluctant to use the platform if they are not sure that their preferences and choices will be protected and kept private. In addition, security of all transactions in the BONVOYAGE platform (including payments) is of course a key requirement. These issues, well understood and addressed in traditional networks, require a significant rethinking when challenged against the unique distinguishing characteristics of ICNs and of our envisaged transport scenario. Traditional network security protocols, such as IPsec or Transport Layer Security (TLS), focus on protecting the communication between an information consumer and a content server, and do this by deploying trustworthy infrastructures devised to enforce authentication and access control primitives on dedicated servers. In our ICN network, the requested content is not necessarily associated to a trusted server or an endpoint location, but it can be retrieved from, say, a network cache managed by a hardly trusted administrative domain or by a sensor or by a user device. This calls for data-centric, infrastructure-less security and privacy solutions, being hardly viable a secure infrastructure which involves storage servers and network caches in heterogeneous non-collaborative domains. Access requests are addressed to a named content, and thus cannot be protected into an encrypted tunnel or TLS connection towards a server address. Thus, we will investigate data-centric techniques, where security and privacy rely on information exclusively contained in the message itself, or, if extra information provided by trusted entities is needed, this should be gathered through offline, asynchronous, and non interactive communication, rather than from an explicit online interactive handshake with trusted servers. The ability to guarantee security without any online entity is particularly important in the fragmented network scenarios tackled by BONVOYAGE, where mobility may technically preclude the ability to connect to a remote trusted party. As matter of fact, protecting information at the source, by embedding security information in the content, is more flexible and robust than delegating this function to applications, or securing only the communications channels. For instance, data gathered by a sensor or coming from a user device, encrypted at the source, can travel over unsecure channels, and can be decrypted only by the intended receiver