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Interview with Nicola Bassi, Head of Research and Development at FIT Consulting, on how the Ride2Rail demos are supporting the creation of a better mobility system

The Ride2Rail project is moving toward the end and it’s time for a status report: what demos have already taken place, what is still coming up, and how are the demos advancing mobility in the region?

Here is the interview to Nicola Bassi, Head of Research and Development at FIT Consulting (Ride2Rail Partner), who is leading WP4 on Demo Execution.

Can you tell us what is the exact role of FIT Consulting in the RIDE2RAIL project?

FIT Consulting covers several roles in the RIDE2RAIL project, but our main role is leading WP4, the Work Package dedicated to Demo Execution. The RIDE2RAIL project sees the execution of live demos involving real passengers that use public transport for urban (ad rural) movements. So, it is not a lab demo in a ‘safe’ environment but the real use of apps and services to fulfil daily needs of public (and non public) transport users.

Other roles see FIT Consulting as leader of Task 5.3 ‘Demo and overall evaluation’, currently in progress, and as one of the participants in WP3 ‘Development of enhanced Travel Companion and Ride-sharing TSP’. Here, FIT Consulting supported tech partners in business analysis and use cases development. Finally, FIT Consulting developed the Driver Companion, which is the application developed in the project specifically for drivers.

So far, can you share your experience of the demos?

The demo has already been executed in Athens (July 2022), Helsinki (October 2022) and Brno (November 2022), and next and final up will be Padua, in April 2023. Some very interesting results have already been gathered, gathering both positive feedback and challenges to still work on. I invite you to read the more elaborated outcomes of the Brno and Athens demo on the project website.

What also became clear during the demos is that it’s not sufficient to merely present a good idea to engage users and participants: it is necessary to provide a reason and proof that we are a step ahead towards a more efficient and comfortable mobility service in their region. The participants well understood this and were happy to support the RIDE2RAIL project in its quest to provide better urban mobility.

The lesson I personally learned was… that people make the difference! I must thank all demo leaders for their efforts, their organisational capabilities, their toughness in always finding a solution. Their leadership on the field, on demo sites, was the key to solve issues we encountered.

Overall, how do you think the RIDE2RAIl demos will contribute to a more favourable mobility system in the demo sites?

The RIDE2RAIL demos have been a great chance to understand how the testers involved in demos are looking at mobility applications and what they are looking for. RIDE2RAIL is a RIA (Research & Innovation Action), so the level of maturity and usability of the apps and services developed and used “on field” is not expected to be of the same nature as commercial ones. Demo participants understood this, and they helped a lot in improving the applications in terms of communication, app usability, user experience, and reliability.

The interview is also available on the Ride2Rail website.

All insights on Ride2Rail are available here.