Speed is often a key requirement when it comes to travelling, which has led to an increase in air travel over recent decades. Lately, however, more and more people consider the travel time itself to be an important part of their journey.
The project CargoRider of the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences is developing a platform for a new and innovative mobility service which allows for easy cargo ship travelling and is affordable for younger travellers. CargoRider facilitates flexible planning and, in addition, makes travelling more entertaining.
Growing interest in slow travel
"Cruises and long journeys by train, for example with the Orient Express or the Trans-Siberian Railway, are a booming market for slow travels. This way of travelling, however, usually speaks to well-off, older travellers, making it part of the luxury sector", says Frank Michelberger, head of the Carl Ritter of Ghega Institute for Integrated Mobility Research of the St. Pölten UAS.
In collaboration with colleagues, he developed the project CargoRider which offers a concept and platform for a cheap and sustainable way of travelling by cargo ship. In a forerunner project with the same name, a feasibility study was carried out to determine the level of interest in cargo ship travel among young people and to find out whether this type of travelling can be offered at a reasonable price.
Existing Market, Interested Target Group
"The results of the forerunner project clearly show that such a service would be of interest to the target group and that it would be feasible from a legal and technical point of view. The project has attracted a lot of attention. This implies that the idea will be well received and that there's a market out there", explains Michelberger.
The concept of CargoRider differs from existing cargo travel services insofar that it is based on the principles of flexible travelling over a fixed period of time, as it is used by railway services, for example InterRail, and also appeals to a younger target group due to its adventure component.
Team members of the ongoing project CargoRider 2 are developing the complete service design for this innovative mobility offer and are creating a prototype with the necessary data interface which will then be tested for function and practicability under lab conditions. The project's partner company bitsfabrik GmbH contributes its experience and knowledge in the development of tourism software and the corresponding technology.
Coordinated business models are developed not only for the software product but also for the cargo travel mobility service. The overall objective is a commercial application for journeys on Europe’s river cargo ships.
User testing is scheduled for June 2019: Over the course of a few days, users can plan, book and "carry out" virtual cargo ship travels using the first prototype of the platform. This test also assures the quality of the service. The project team is still looking for volunteers interested in going on this virtual journey.
"The development focuses on software usability and user experience since people have high expectations for modern mobility services and fulfilling these expectations is an essential prerequisite for the project's success", says Peter Judmaier, UAS lecturer in the Department of Media and Digital Technologies at the St. Pölten UAS.
"CargoRider 2" is an interdisciplinary project implemented at the St. Pölten UAS. It is a collaboration of the Carl Ritter of Ghega Institute for Integrated Mobility Research (project lead), the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies (service design and costumer experience design) and the Institute of Media Economics (operational concept).
Both projects are financed by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology within the scope of its programme "Mobilität der Zukunft" (Mobility of the Future).