Commute Choices in Australia
Significant changes in travel behaviour of the people are evident since COVID-19.
Safety protocols and restrictions limited the movement of people. Government limited leisure travels. They only allow essential travels that follow minimum health standards.
In effect, the need to socially distance has lessened the hustle and bustle in big cities and central business districts.
Employees now have the flexibility to work from home. Most are not required to be present in the workplace five days a week. The proximity of the place where an employee lives and the location of his company is not as important as before. More and more people are shifting to work from home set up.
This current scenario made people rethink their lifestyle. Change their habits.
Professionals can keep their jobs but can also shift from the high cost of living in the cities to the modest cost of living in smaller communities or suburbs.
People look for another home or choose to live in another place. They can now reconsider to have a new home away from the office and make their work from home set up viable.
They can have better options to make their quality of life better and keep their family safer and more secure.
As studies show, moving home is the best time to start a new habit. When people are more likely to change their habits, so as their travel behaviour.
With that in mind and the restrictions brought by COVID-19, people have personal preferences in finding their perfect home:
- Options of multiple destinations
- Proximity to the basic amenities such as supermarkets, pharmacy, etc
- Driving and cycling routes
- Travel time
- Travel Cost
- Road Network
- Distance when walking to other establishments such as school, restaurants, shopping malls, etc.
- Searching near a train station and other public transport with timetable
These factors need to be sorted out when choosing a new home for the family. Thus, people would have to check several websites for house-hunting details and information.
The process is time-consuming and confusing.
House-hunting can be efficient if data and information are provided in a single website.
People can use a site that also shows travel options within the target community and desired destinations. They can use a single site that shows preferences for house-hunting and has travel options at the same time. It will help them to have informed decisions.
They can use the website finderful.com- a house-hunting software product that won the Travel Choices Innovation Challenge.
What is finderful.com?
The finderful.com is a software product created since 2013. It was developed for searching real estate properties and rental. The site offers “Commute Choices in Australia” not only in the cities but in the suburbs as well.
It is a software solution tailored to help commuters choose a home and guide them to create the most efficient travel pattern based on their desired commute.
finderful.com is a home-hunting site available in both mobile and desktop forms. It is centred around travel behaviour. It allows users to set their preferences for their commutes, such as travel time, walking distance, modes of transport, and destinations.
finderful.com can suggest homes and locations based on personal preferences. It is easier for users to choose based on different datasets and information.
Is the area safe?
Is the area cycle-friendly and pedestrian-safe?
What are the schedules of off-peak services?
Users can assess the houses and location. They can check the nearby premises from home and determine if they can have a safe journey to get their basic supplies, commodities and necessities. They need to know the nearby establishments and know how they can follow the minimum health protocols and limit their exposure outside of their homes.
For price trends feature, aside from the ability to see trends based on the number of bedrooms, finderful.com also provides price trend information based on the number of bathrooms. Usually, bathrooms have a bigger effect on price than bedrooms. It will help the users decide if the house or unit is a sound investment.
How to use finderful.com?
The website is easy to navigate. Provided data and information are understandable. The feature of the site will make obtaining and interpreting travel information easier for the end-users. The site provides options and preferences that cater to users’ specific needs. Thus, end-users can have informed decisions in choosing their new home.
When using the site, one can enter a target location and they can see house results based on their target destinations such as school, office or other establishments. They will see results with different options of houses and rentals near their target destination. They can also enter the address of a family member and the site will prompt them with options of houses and rentals near the address.
Preferences can be changed and new options will automatically update and show.
Because the site promotes ‘Commute Choices Australia’, it offers a wide variety of locations from different parts of Australia in both cities and suburbs.
It offers the advanced preference-based searches such as “don’t care to “like” to “want” to “need” so you can personalise how important each search factor is to you..
finderful.com wins Travel Innovation Challenge 2017
Though it was initially developed for searching suburbs and using NSW Housing data, the site was customised to answer the need for Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) to address major transportation issues in Sydney.
TfNSW launched the Travel Choices Innovation Challenge. The goal is to provide customers with a software product that will encourage them to change and improve their travel behaviour. finderful.com was promoted to the 169,200 customers that form part of the Travel Choices program’s audience
The following are the principles used by finderful.com to influence the travel behaviour of the customers based on the Challenge:
- Re-timing is encouraged by showing both peak and off-peak travel information.
- Remoding is encouraged by showing the financial and environmental cost of driving a private car versus public transport or active transport.
- Reducing is encouraged as customers can search for homes near supermarkets and other establishments and it will show the Walk Score for a particular home.
When commute distance changes, people are more likely to change their travel habits. When people most likely consider changing their travel behaviour, finderful.com encourages commuters to re-mode, re-time and reduce their commutes.
finderful.com system was customised to encourage “Commute Choices in Sydney” to make it easier for the users to process the data and information. The system ensured that TfNSW customers could properly interpret the travel details specific to their needs to improve their travel behaviour.
The site added contextual prompts that will appear to suggest setting preferences to improve the financial, environmental and health benefits shown in the home results.
Home results were presented with commute information such as financial cost, carbon emissions and calories burned. Additional datasets can also suggest homes near a car share vehicle, frequent off-peak services, and cycle-friendliness.
finderful.com system works for any destination and it can adapt to the larger strategic centres, transport corridors and more local precincts based on the user’s input.
The site, as an innovative software solution, won with the following criteria:
Customer Experience– The site is a home-hunting app that would encourage users to improve their travel habits. The over-all feature of the site is easy to navigate and options and information are easy to use and understand.
Market Feasibility- The marketing of the site was primarily done through social media optimisation and search engine optimisation (SEO). TfNSW also gives marketing assistance.
Technical Feasibility- The site was already developed and it’s highly workable for the system to acquire and integrate needed data such as journey planning, existing car-pooling and other necessary datasets needed by the increasing users.
Commercial Sustainability- It serves as an advertising platform for real estate agents and can be customised to other business models as needed by the end-users.
Innovation- It is a home-hunting software product centred around travel behaviour.
As the Challenge winner, finderful.com was endorsed by the TfNSW to 644 businesses in the Central Business District (CBD). The site was also promoted as a Travel Choices software product preferred by customers.
Scalability and Sustainability
Since 2013, when the site was created, finderful.com is continuously developing to add value to the platform. The system is very flexible and can be improved quickly to stay competitive.
The site uses many datasets from different open data sources. Other existing tools and relevant products and services are also used to obtain the necessary information. It will make obtaining and interpreting travel data and information easier to understand by the end-users. Updates are readily available. Data acquisition such as existing carpoolers, transport options is also highly workable.
End-users can send an email if there is a need for further information and details based on the following information:
- Searching for investment property
- Searching based on WalkScore
- Neighbourhood information, such as demographics
- Searching near a train station
- Searching near a supermarket
- Detailed safety statistics
- Price trends
- Searching in another country
- Searching near the best schools
- Searching where your native language is more common
A site for real estate agents
The site also serves as an advertising platform for real estate agents. It has premium features that could offer the ‘best commute options’ for the users. It can provide AD Platform or Public service announcements.
Small agencies are free to list on the site while big agencies can contact the site for terms and conditions details.
Agents can contact the site for bulk upload. They can contact their bulk uploader to ask them to upload the listings to finderful.com
finderful.com Commute Choices in Australia
While significant changes in the travel behaviour of the people are evident since COVID-19, finderful.com is continuously updated and improved as a home-hunting site centred around travel behaviours.
finderful.com always aims to encourage people to improve their travel habits while helping them to create well-informed decisions on choosing their home in Australia.
Where to live in Australia?
finderful.com assists users to make a decision they won’t regret.