Today, more and more people across the UK are giving up car ownership. If you look at London in particular, you will find that 70% of the population do not own a single car. Researchers are saying that Britain may have reached “peak car” after findings have showed that the number of teenagers holding a driving licence has plummeted by almost 40% in the last two decades. (Source: The Sunday Times).This is only practical because journey planning apps using real-time data on smartphones and other mobile devices have changed the face of urban mobility.
Well, now one app in particular has the potential to change the face of short stay holidays and weekend getaways for public transport users.
If you’ve never tried it, planning a short jaunt away using public transport is usually a bit of a nightmare. So few of the routes go where you want to go, when you want to go there. Finding the combination of different routes and services you need was all but impossible, especially when you aren’t very familiar with the destination city or its services.
Our developers saw these frustrations as an opportunity to reinvent the wheel for short jaunt planning, and wanted to see what sort of prototype they could create with just two weeks to do it. And that’s where the ‘Weekend Getaway’ app comes in!
This prototype is the first travel app in the world to seamlessly combine public transport and hotel data, making it possible to not only plan a route to all of your ‘must see’ destinations quickly, but to book your travel online with just a few taps.
HOW DOES WEEKEND GETAWAY WORK?
All you need to do is enter your starting point – your own home, a hotel, a railway station, anything – the dates you wish to travel and the maximum journey time you are comfortable with. The app will tell you every location of interest which can be reached by public transport in that time frame. It also tells you about nearby hotels and other attractions, making planning an entire weekend getaway a snap.
- If you’ve just arrived in London you could enter London Paddington and the maximum travel time as 30-60. You’d get a map very like this one, displaying everywhere you could go within an hour and a half.
- Different hotel options are colour coded based on distance (and travel time) from your starting location.
- When you tap a pin, the app shows you whether rooms are available, the hotel’s star rating, prices and details as well as giving you access to reviews. Tap another pin, and see the details for another hotel. Simple.
- So, with just a few taps, you’ll generate a customised itinerary for the perfect weekend getaway, along with a personal journey plan which uses optimised multi-modal public transportation options.
THE TECHNICAL STUFF
Weekend Getaway was created during one of our Interchange Sprints, a company-wide 2 week event which helped our engineers and developers expand their scopes of operation and collaborate on some really unique projects. Find out more about our Interchange Sprint in Forbes article here.
The app uses the Isochrone function within the SilverRail Journey Planner (SilverSearch) to enable the destination search, and the SilverSearch API to calculate journey plan. It also uses the HomeAway API. HomeAway is an Expedia Group brand. They are world leaders in vacation rentals, representing more than 2 million unique places to stay in 190 countries.