Outclassing Google Maps

NS International

Can we create an indoor routing assistance for train stations, overcoming the boundaries of poor GPS? NS International and Bit team up to explore how the travel experience can become less stressful through the use of technology.

Challenge

Enhance the travel experience

Challenge

The Dutch Railways are on a mission to make flying obsolete within Europe. International train travellers however, experience quite some challenges during their journeys. To make international train transit the preferred way of travelling, it is needed to overcome these challenges. Especially in the area of stress relief there is room for improvement. Like knowing whether you will make your connection or how to find your way to the platform. NS International and Bit team up to explore how technology can make the travel experience as smooth as possible.

Outcome

23.500m2

meters mapped on Amsterdam Central and Brussel Midi.

+15%

increase in indoor customer navigation speed.

+29%

increase in customer experience rating for indoor navigation.

Hypothesis

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Digital navigator as stress relief

Since the introduction of Google maps we expect to be guided everywhere, at any given time. Due to the poor GPS signals we don’t get this guidance indoors. Google will position you somewhere around the station, never accurate enough to guide you towards the right platform, let alone switch floors inside the building. If we succeed in creating accurate wayfinding, we will enhance the experience of travelers and take away part of their stress.

Research and prototyping

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Mapping 15.530m2 of Amsterdam Central Station

Every large station is filled with routers. Using these routers for triangulation provides us the data to determine one’s location. With Google maps as a starting point, we covered every square meter of Amsterdam Central Station. We mapped all destination points like platforms, shops or lockers. And we mapped all passageways like corridors, elevators and gates. Connecting these points to existing navigation software, we made it possible for travelers to use a sound indoor navigation that was even able to assist in switching floors. An unparalleled feature in the European market.

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Outcome

We mapped all destination points like platforms, shops or lockers. And we mapped all passageways like corridors, elevators and gates.

Prototype

A prototyped indoor navigator with an accuracy of 1 meter, able to navigate floor levels.

26% increase

26% increase of customer satisfaction in favor of prototype assistance compared to regular routing in train stations

First phase MVP

First phase MVP addition to the NS app for travelers