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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method and System for Generating Viable Pattern-Transfers for an Itinerary -Planning System", for Approval

January 30, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Francis, Matthew David (Bradford on Avon, GB), filed on March 27, 2012, was made available online on January 16, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Trapeze Software Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Itinerary planning is generally known. Given a travel network, and a set of parameters that form an itinerary-planning request, an itinerary is generated that best satisfies the parameters. The travel network typically is a street network, a walking network or a public transportation network, but, in some cases, can incorporate two or more travel means to enable a comprehensive solution to be provided. The travel network consists of a set of paths, or network segments, that are terminated at both ends by nodes. For example, both metropolitan trains and transit buses travel along fixed routes that have scheduled stops therealong. Nodes can be used to represent the stops and network segments model the travel of the trains and buses between the stops. Nodes are often defined to denote points where interchange between various travel means can occur.

"In the case of fixed-route transit, such as via train or urban bus service, the route followed by a vehicle in a direction represents a pattern of travel, or more simply, a pattern. Patterns are punctuated by a series of stops. Itinerary-planning systems store these patterns as a series of network segments spanning between nodes. Geolocations are assigned to the nodes, typically as latitudinal and longitudinal or global positioning system coordinates.

"In order for such itinerary-planning systems to generate solutions that include a transfer between a first (or 'inbound') pattern to a second (or 'outbound') pattern where the geolocations of the stops along the patterns don't align perfectly, transfers between patterns (referred to as 'pattern-transfers') by walking are generated by hand and stored with the patterns before deployment so that they can be used to quickly bridge the gap between stops along two different patterns. As changes to the networks occur, such as the addition of new walking paths and the alteration of fixed-route service, the transfers must be manually adjusted and/or added to compensate. This process is tedious, labor-intensive and error-prone. Transfers generated manually may not provide the best solutions for transferring between two patterns. Further, transfers between patterns may be missed entirely.

"It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a novel method and system for generating viable pattern-transfers for an itinerary-planning system."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "According to an aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for generating viable pattern-transfers for an itinerary-planning system, comprising:

"identifying pairs of patterns along fixed transit routes that are proximate one another, each of said patterns comprising a number of stops connected by pattern segments traveled in a specific order;

"identifying pattern-transfers between said stops along an inbound pattern of said pairs and said stops along an outbound pattern of said pairs;

"discarding at least one of said pattern-transfers if traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said at least one of said pattern-transfers is unadvantageous compared to traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via at least one other of said pattern-transfers; and

"storing said undiscarded pattern-transfers in storage for use by an itinerary-planning system.

"The pattern-transfers can traverse a walking network. The identifying pattern-transfers can include:

"determining if said pattern-transfers between one of said stops along said inbound pattern and stops along said outbound pattern and other patterns have been previously identified.

"The identifying pattern-transfers can further include:

"performing an itinerary query over a walking network to identify said pattern-transfers between said one stop along said inbound pattern and stops proximate said one stop along said outbound pattern and other patterns if said pattern-transfers have not been identified for said one stop along said inbound pattern.

"The itinerary query can include the one stop along the inbound pattern as an origin, an arbitrary location relatively distant from the one stop as a destination and a specified maximum walking distance. The itinerary query can also include an arbitrary departure time.

"The identified pattern-transfers can be registered in a node-connection map, which can indicate that the itinerary query was performed for the one stop along the inbound pattern. The determining can include determining if the itinerary query has been performed for the one stop.

"The identifying pattern-transfers can include:

"performing an itinerary query over a walking network to identify said pattern-transfers available at a stop along segment between one of said stops on said first pattern and one of said stops on said second pattern.

"The identifying pattern-transfers can include:

"identifying pattern-transfers between said stops along said inbound pattern and said stops on said outbound pattern.

"The discarding can include:

"identifying at least one alternate route from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said other pattern-transfers having a shorter expected travel time and walking distance than via said at least one pattern-transfers.

"The discarding can include:

"selecting outbound pattern segments along said outbound pattern, commencing with a first of said outbound pattern segments and subsequently selecting immediately-subsequent outbound pattern segments; and

"selecting inbound pattern segments along said inbound pattern, commencing with a last of said inbound pattern segments and subsequently selecting immediately-preceding inbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"evaluating transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments in comparison to transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of previously-selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said previously-selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments is unadvantageous in comparison to transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said previously-selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said previously-selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers between said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments is unadvantageous in comparison to transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said previously-selected inbound pattern segments and said previously-selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments are longer than said pattern-transfers bridging from the start of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said previously-selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments are longer than said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the end of said selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments are longer than said pattern-transfers bridging from the start of said selected inbound pattern segments to the end of said selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments is slower than transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the start of said selected inbound pattern segments to the end of said selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments if traveling along said selected inbound segments and transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments is unadvantageous in comparison to transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern at the start of said selected inbound pattern segments and traveling along said outbound pattern to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments.

"The discarding can further include:

"discarding said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected inbound pattern segments if transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging from the end of said selected inbound pattern segments to the start of said selected outbound pattern segments and traveling along said selected outbound pattern segments is unadvantageous in comparison to traveling further along said inbound pattern past the end of said selected inbound pattern segments and then transferring from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said pattern-transfers bridging to the end of said selected outbound pattern segments.

"The identifying pairs of patterns can include:

"determining that said pairs of patterns are proximate one another if rectangles bounding said patterns in said pair overlap or are proximate one another.

"According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a computer system for generating viable pattern-transfers for an itinerary-planning system, comprising:

"a processor executing computer-readable instructions for identifying pairs of patterns along fixed transit routes in a travel network database that are proximate one another, each of said patterns comprising a number of stops connected by pattern segments traveled in a specific order, identifying pattern-transfers between said stops along an inbound pattern of said pairs and said stops along an outbound pattern of said pairs, discarding at least one of said pattern-transfers if traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said at least one of said pattern-transfers is unadvantageous compared to traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via at least one other of said pattern-transfers, and storing said undiscarded pattern-transfers in storage accessible to said computer system for use by an itinerary-planning system.

"According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for generating viable pattern-transfers for an itinerary-planning system, comprising:

"identifying pairs of patterns along fixed transit routes that are proximate one another, each of said patterns comprising a number of stops connected by pattern segments traveled in a specific order;

"selecting one of said pairs of patterns;

"setting one of said patterns in said one pair as an inbound pattern and another of said patterns in said one pair as an outbound pattern;

"identifying pattern-transfers between said stops along an inbound pattern and said stops along an outbound pattern; and

"storing at least one of said pattern-transfers in storage for use by an itinerary-planning system if traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via said at least one of said pattern-transfers provides an advantage compared to traveling from said inbound pattern to said outbound pattern via other of said pattern-transfers.

"Other and further advantages and features of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description thereof, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The invention will now be described in more detail, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like numbers refer to like elements, wherein:

"FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a computer system for generating viable pattern-transfers for an itinerary-planning system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, and its operating environment;

"FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the computer system shown in FIG. 1;

"FIG. 3 shows an exemplary set of trips for a bus route that are considered during itinerary planning by the computer system of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 4 illustrates the patterns traveled by the trips of FIG. 3;

"FIG. 5 is a flowchart of the general method of generating pattern-transfers used by the computer system of FIG. 1;

"FIG. 6 shows an exemplary pattern analyzed during the method of FIG. 5;

"FIG. 7 shows a bounding rectangle drawn around the pattern of FIG. 5;

"FIG. 8 shows a second exemplary pattern intersecting the first exemplary pattern of FIG. 7 and a bounding rectangle drawn about it;

"FIG. 9 shows the determination of proximity in the method of FIG. 5 for the first pattern of FIG. 6 and another exemplary pattern where the bounding rectangles for the patterns do not overlap;

"FIG. 10 shows the patterns of FIG. 8 and their respective stops;

"FIG. 11 is a flowchart of the general method of determining viable pattern-transfers, if any, from an inbound pattern to an outbound pattern in the method of FIG. 5;

"FIG. 12 is a flowchart of the general method of determining pattern-transfers between stops of the inbound and outbound patterns in the method of FIG. 11;

"FIG. 13 illustrates the identification of pattern stops within a maximum walking distance of the last stop on the inbound pattern;

"FIGS. 14A and 14B show the general method of determining if a pattern-transfer from the inbound pattern to the outbound pattern is viable in the method of FIG. 11;

"FIG. 15 shows the comparison of the expected travel time for a pattern-transfer versus that for any alternative route achieved by traveling further down the inbound pattern;

"FIG. 16 shows the comparison of the walking distance for a pattern-transfer bridging from the end of a selected inbound pattern segment to the start of a selected outbound pattern segment versus the walking distance along a pattern-transfer bridging from the start of the selected inbound pattern segment to the same stop;

"FIG. 17 shows the comparison of the walking distance for a pattern-transfer bridging from the end of a selected inbound pattern segment to the start of a selected outbound pattern segment versus the walking distance along a pattern-transfer bridging from the same stop on the inbound pattern to the immediately-subsequent stop along the outbound pattern;

"FIG. 18 shows the comparison of the walking distance for a pattern-transfer from the end of a selected inbound pattern segment to the start of a selected outbound pattern-transfer versus the walking distance along the pattern-transfer bridging from the start of the selected inbound pattern segment to the end of the selected outbound pattern segment;

"FIG. 19 shows the comparison of the expected travel time and walking distance of traveling further along the inbound pattern and walking to a stop on the outbound pattern versus walking directly to a stop on the outbound pattern and then continuing therealong until the same stop; and

"FIG. 20 shows the comparison of the expected travel time and walking distance of walking directly to a stop on the outbound pattern and then continuing therealong to a subsequent stop versus traveling further along the inbound pattern and then walking to the subsequent stop on the outbound pattern."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Francis, Matthew David. Method and System for Generating Viable Pattern-Transfers for an Itinerary -Planning System. Filed March 27, 2012 and posted January 16, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=866&p=18&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140109.PD.&OS=PD/20140109&RS=PD/20140109

Keywords for this news article include: Trapeze Software Inc.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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