Monthly Archives: July 2011

Epic land campaigns

We pushed out another rome2rio release this week. Amongst the changes were the addition of the NYC subway, San Francisco BART and Seattle airport lightrail. We made more routing engine improvements, especially the handling of travel between islands such as Honolulu to Maui.

The most notable change however is that rome2rio now frequently shows surface only (non flying) routes. This was a common piece of feedback, with users wanting to explore travel options that do not include flying. Now, a search from Copenhagen to Gdansk results in several options including a couple of possible routes that involve flying, a 13 hour train journey option and an 11 hour driving and ferry adventure. Rome2rio even suggests an epic 7 day train adventure via the Trans-Siberian Railway when searching from Lisbon to Beijing. As we expand the data coverage, even longer surface journeys will be presented.

Lisbon-beijing

So who would actually want to travel so far without flying? Actually, there’s a sizeable movement around surface only travel with advocates sighting the environmental benefits, cost benefits, a chance to meet the locals and the fun of exploring the world at ground level instead of at 30,000 feet. The comprehensive travel site seat61 is all about travelling overland to destinations all over the globe. We recently stumbled upon Yogirail and Trainlines, a couple of hobby sites where people are exploring mapping out surface travel options. Clearly there is an appetite for better information about surface travel than is available today, and we hope to address this by expanding rome2rio’s surface transport coverage.

Train

New rome2rio features, better data and UI improvements

We pushed out a new version of rome2rio this week. Here are some of the improvements we made:

Support entering a country, state or airport code

We regularly analyze our search logs to see what sort of queries users are entering into rome2rio. We noticed that users sometimes input countries (such as France, Peru or Canada) and states (such as Hawaii or California) rather than cities and towns. Previously rome2rio did an OK job of these queries, presenting routes to a random location in the middle of the country.

With this release we now specially handle these queries by showing the users routes to the major towns and cities in the region. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to Japan but don’t mind whether your adventure starts in Tokyo, Osaka or Fukuoka? It makes perfect sense to be able to search rome2rio for routes to Japan.

We also noticed plenty of users inputing IATA 3-letter airport codes into rome2rio, and we now support these properly.

Seattle-hawaii

Better European train data

We’ve improved the quality of the underlying train data that rome2rio uses to find routes. Our coverage in Switzerland has improved a lot. We’ve also added more local trains in Europe (eg: subways, trams and S-Bahns) including the London Tube.

Rome2rio now also factors the train frequency into consideration when presenting routes. Previously, infrequent trains such as the thrice daily express service from London Elephant + Castle to Gatwick Airport was recommended to users, giving them an unrealistic expectation of the typical travel time to Gatwick airport from Vauxhall (now fixed). 

Vauxhall-gatwick

Various UI improvements

Based on feedback from our users, we’ve made various minor changes to rome2rio’s UI. The new layout is cleaner, the Show prices button is more prominent, selecting flights for purchase is more intuitive, and the icons on the map and left rail makes the transport modes clearer.

We hope you like these changes and enjoy watching rome2rio continue to evolve. We’ve got plenty more exciting stuff in the pipeline that we’ll post about in the next few months. Stay tuned.