The context :
In the decade, one of the most important elements that have guided technological development has been mobility, without doubt: the enormous number of private vehicles in circulation removes oxygen from the cities and their relative inhabitants, often with negative effects in terms of traffic congestion, fuel consumption and atmospheric pollution, especially in university centers such as the University of Calabria (UniCal), where there are a huge number of daily movements to and from the campus. Unical has 35.000 enrolled students, most of whom are resident in neighboring towns. Apart from the students, there are teachers technical and administrative staff, together with others such as graduate students, scholars and business people around the Unical area, for an estimated total of about 40,000 people who gravitate around the university and that make trips every day. A national research project (PRIN) conducted by several universities in 2002 (UniCal, Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria, Rome Tor Vergata and Roma Tre) investigated the dynamics of mobility inside the campus. In this study a survey of vehicular and pedestrian flows was carried out in the 7 sections of the university area. The resultant data shows that in a single day the campus serves as a center of gravity for about 17,000 cars and approximately 500 buses and motorcycles.
The same study illustrates a particular critical data : for the year 2015 an average daily displacement of 42,000 people is expected, of whom nearly 20,000 using only cars. This will, inevitably, cause heavy traffic congestion - given the extremely poor conditions of the road and rail networks in the urban area - which will not only bring about in significant monetary costs (in terms of fuel) and non-monetary costs (in terms of time), but also in terms of accidents, as well as noise and air pollution. Another element to consider, is the cuts that the Regione Calabria has made in recent years regarding public transport. In fact, under resolution no. 47 of 30/03/2012, a series of cuts have been imposed that will penalize connections between UniCal, Cosenza and the entire urban area. It will therefore be necessary to promote, encourage and use new forms of public transportation to better meet the needs of individual and / or collective mobility needs: among these is vehicle-pooling. The idea of vehicle-pooling, was born as an extension of the better-known car-pooling, which consists of sharing private cars between groups of people, attempting to encourage and extend such sharing to as many types of vehicles as possible, in order to reduce transport costs and contemporarily reduce the negative environmental impact.
The idea behind the project:
In this scenario the project proposal SMOB - Social MOBilty, code PON04a3_00164, fits , which won the tender for Social Innovation for Regions for the Convergence Objective, which aims to create a Smart Mobility project in Calabria, in this case in the urban area of 'UniCal’, in order to support innovation in the sector of transport and logistics, through the development of technology and the promotion and development of low environmental impact mobility. The SMOB project therefore foresees the creation of an innovative portal to facilitate the vehicle-pooling service, generating numerous "network externals", positive for the community, since it would induce the commencement of positive processes triggering the so-called "Metcalfe's Law". The expected results are improvements to the road system, decongestion of the transport network, the more efficient use of private vehicles, perfectly in line with the Kyoto Protocol and European legislation. There would also be a reduction in the level of social exclusion for those with low incomes, arising from the possibility of having a vehicle at their disposal without having to bear the fixed costs of ownership. In short, an initiative with social implications that also focuses on future generations, such as university students, who are always more open-minded.
The innovative factor:
The project SMOB wants to take up the best national and international car-pooling practices, such as "Taxistop", "BlaBlaCar" "Zimride", "Bringme" improving them with highly innovative ideas and features such as, for example, the integration of logistics optimization modules or the merging of social networking models on the platform, reinforcing the concept of vehicle pooling. In this regard, it is impossible to find systems on the web that compute the routes to be followed optimally (in terms of mileage or time), dynamically, or with limitations of time. At best such systems use classical algorithms to calculate shortest paths. Even with regard to social networking activities, global best practices offer simple features such as basic feedback from users. In the case of the SMOB project, special rules will be inbuilt, for recommendations that consider and take into account all possible social elements.