Cyril Biselx - 2015
For 2 years of my life, I commuted for around 4 hours every day – travelling an equivalent of more than 900 miles by train each week.
This experience made me a great candidate for finding improvements to the way we travel – in this case the major issue I wanted to find a fix for was having to show my travelcard to the ticket inspector and, for long rides (which meant every single day), having to face that awkward moment when they don't remember if they already checked your ticket or not.
Here's a quick illustrated explanation to the solution I came up with:
On each passenger seat's armrest is stuck an NFC tag. Each tag holds a number which is specific to the seat and the train.
In the backend, this tag informs us of:
- The car the seat is located in.
- The seat number and its position inside the car.
- The destination the train is headed to.
All your tickets and travelcards are registered in the app. Scanning the tag lets the system know you're on x train to y destination and it'll check if your ride is paid for.
Doing this allows the app to learn from your habits, and for exemple, wake you up or warn you of any delays on your way to work.
Besides learning from your patterns (and providing helpful data to the railway company), the app also becomes an amazing hub for services. It knows where you're seated and when you arrive which allows for location based suggestions either on board or at your destination.
- Order coffee or snacks directly at your seat
- Order pickup at the train station's shops
- Ask for help or even for an Uber to pick you up when you arrive.
From that, the possibilities are endless. Here's an exemple that would require a bit more of an installation but still is relatively simple:
If beacons are placed at the extremities of each railcar, it allows the system to determine the almost exact position of a device travelling down the isle – This would allow the ticket inspector to see on their device, for each row of seats, which passager has successfully checked-in or not. And it could even be implemented in the consumer app to let commuters know what car is less crowded. How amazing would that be ?