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A European multimodal travel network, vision or reality?

October 27, 2014
Author: Thomas Drexler

A year ago, we embarked on a journey towards a door-to-door travel space: the Amadeus-led consortium All Ways Travelling’(AWT). A European Commission (EC) initiative to promote a European multimodal travel information system, that includes not only a rail reservation system but all transport modes

The objective: a multimodal travel booking system

AWT’s objective is to deliver a seamless travel experience to passengers. Making the whole travel process simplier: allowing searching, booking and traveling between Europe in a few clicks.

But what is the project progress so far? We are still in the starting phase, where industry players are starting to think about multimodal transport. But on the other hand, there are multimodality adopters. For example, the collaboration of German airports with Deutsche Bahn has improved the easiness of traveling anywhere in Germany directly from Frankfurt or Munich airports. In Belgium, railways allow their passengers to use their rail tickets in the metro as well. 

The AWT Phase 1 Study, shows that the concept of multimodality works quite effectively within urban areas. For years, we have conveniently used our single urban transport card in any metro, bus or tram. But crossing borders take on a whole new level of complexity, as we encounter different transport providers with their own booking and ticketing methods. 

The good news is, technology allows us to interline all transport methods, allowing them to talk to each other in the same language.

Should travelers pay to have a more seamless travel experience?

The Study, featured a survey whether European passengers would be willing to pay extra for a seamless travel experience, and the majority responded negatively. This fact will push providers to find new opportunities for monetization, as it clearly won’t work out if the burden is placed on the traveler. As a result, new business models are likely to emerge, creating new jobs, and adding new life to the industry.

Emerging markets such as China or Saudi Arabia, are already delivering ambitious transport plans where all journey steps are designed to be seamlessly integrated, but how can Europe get there? At Amadeus, we are working towards a multimodal travel network. With projects, such as building the first rail IT community platform and we will keep on working to make this a reality. 

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