Behind the maps
|Making Journey Planner|
After two years of planning the idea to create interactive train journey planner and timetable was finally fulfilled. Now it's just a part of the large-scale project including all rail services of Norscand (except urban trains) and booking system that will have similar features of railway companies in reality.
I wanted to check my abilities to create this kind of system and take ICE service as the pilot part of the project because of its relatively small number of composing details - stations, routes and links connecting the stations. So now the entire system of ICE trains encounters 70 stations, 27 routes, 509 daily trains in both directions, 89 links between stations.
The most laborious part of work is describing the network by programming methods. Prior to using the database to search for travel options, it's needed to collect all stations and all possible links between stations for every type of service marking the distance, average link speed. Then I collected all routes link by link, tuned the routes by operating hours and headway and, finally, made schedule for all trains of all routes with optimization of transfer time between trains of different routes. To ease all the process I used about 30 auxiliary programs written by myself.
For the moment (January 2011) I've passed all steps for all Norscand rail services except optimization transfer time - this is done only for ICE service and that's why I could launch only ICE trains on the website. The entire system encounters about 22500 daily trains, 3800 links, 2480 stations, 480 routes, 4 product services (ICE, long-distance, regional and suburban trains)
The next task was the realization of travel option search in journey planner. For this I use SQL queries with ASP technology that retrieve results from prepared database. Now it allows to get direct service between two stations and/or trip with 1 change of train. In the future I'll plan to increase options to 2 transfers and make possibility to customize search (choosing service, prices, transfer times etc)
My working process will go on, so I hope someday we'll be able to print the real ticket to any station of Norscand as well as travel schedule, see the chosen route on the map, and get acquainted with plans of the largest railway stations and its services.
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