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The Sky Is the Limit: Pushing Travel Frontiers

by Michael FrankenbergJan 27, 2016

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About the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and opportunities for public transport.

Public transport and digitalization – how do these two go together? We believe that chances for public transportation have never been bigger than right now! We are linked in via technology and manage our daily life through the use of smartphones and apps. I am able to track a package delivery within a few meters of its actual position, control the heating via tablet and open my Car2Go with my smartphone. Thanks to digital technologies, public transport has significantly caught up: from guidance to the reserved seat, to information on changing trains, ticketing or finding the right vehicle, to routing from door to door – all these functionalities are provided by only one app. The content within our HAFAS apps is becoming more and more detailed. We aim to create mobility solutions that guarantee comprehensive travel assistance from A to Z.quote_michael_frankenberg

The increasing amounts of sensors surrounding us allow for better communication with technology and vice versa. Today’s smartphones, for instance, recognize our current position and also if we are standing on a hill and the time it will take to reach the next station with our current walking speed. As software specialists, we benefit from these developments and adapt our apps accordingly. Moreover, we are actively involved in testing new technological infrastructures, e.g. by equipping stations with beacons that enable routing within buildings. At Berlin’s station City Center, for instance, we have embarked on a pilot project in cooperation with the BVG that facilitates orientation underground by means of beacons.

Apps communicating with transport companies and passengers

Transport companies communicate with their passengers by means of apps, but what about the other way around? Why shouldn’t it be possible for passengers to inform the bus driver via their journey planner app about how many stations they wish to travel until they hop off or change buses? Thanks to the seamless interaction between our journey planner apps and driver apps, as can be witnessed with HAFAS Smart VMS, you can already push that red stop button in the bus via app, or even make your precise journey request including transfer stops and connection reliability. Thus, drivers know exactly where people want to hop on or off and where they need to wait for passengers who might be delayed. The driver apps communicate with each other, so the control center no longer needs to interfere.

The future is smart

The current digital evolution offers exciting opportunities. Our Berlin-based HaCon Mobility Lab does intensive research on the intelligent linking of all relevant means of transport. The smartwatch’s value will increase even further in the future and considerably expand the ticketing and navigation possibilities. Public transport, which has once been established for mass transportation, is now experiencing changing paradigms – it is getting more and more tangible and controllable for the individual.

Illustration: © fotolia / ellagrin

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