Multimodal versus intermodal route planners: mapping out the differences

The monomodal route planner

A route planner is a useful tool to plan your trip before you go on the road: it helps you to gain insights into the precise itinerary that you will complete. If you take the car, it is important and useful to choose the right route. Is it a route you have never taken before? Or will there be any unexpected events or traffic jams?

Of course we all think about the car if we plan to travel from A to B, but a route planner can be equally useful if you want to reach a destination by bike or on foot. Some pedestrian route planners propose, for example, itineraries where you can spot the most beautiful POIs along your walk in the city, while bike planners can show you the quickest route to meet your appointment.

Then comes public transport: a route planner unlike any other. Here it is not so much about routes anymore, but the incorporation of timetables to know at which time exactly you could be leaving, which line you have to take or when you need to make a transfer to reach your destination.

Mobile Ninja - ScreenshotMultimodal route planners

So the bill adds up to one route planner per transport mode, which can be combined in one route planner: the multimodal route planner, a system that generates one or more itineraries for every transport mode. Four years ago we launched Mobile Ninja to do exactly that and up until today, we still offer drivers alternative routes to reach their destination by car, public transport, bike and on foot.

Combine multiple transport modes in one intermodal trip

Of course, during a transfer you do not always want or have to stick to only one mode of transport. Shifting smart offers many extra possibilities. For example, more than 30% of train commuters come to the station by car or go on foot or by bicycle. These people change their mode of transport within one journey. And thanks to Be-Mobile, there is now a route planner for that: the intermodal route planner.

It takes into account the different transfer options. In our version, all train, tram and bus stations, including park and ride locations are possible transfer points. An underground car park will take you from your car to the last part of the route on foot. And it does not stop there. Even the water bus or shared bikes can be included in your trip.

Smart to Antwerp - ScreenshotHow does it work?

An intermodal route planner uses a digital map, relevant dynamic traffic data, timetables, transfer locations and a powerful algorithm. Be-Mobile’s intermodal route planner is currently actively involved in Smart ways to Antwerp, stimulating citizens and visitors to move smart in and around the city. If you ask yourself how you could travel from A to B without any worries, our algorithm will investigate the various possibilities and combinations. We calculate up to 250 possible ways to travel, filter out the most relevant ones and present different alternatives. This way, we evolve to a real intermodal trip planner, that is no longer just about a route, but about planning a journey.