Thursday, August 25, 2022
Connected data for better public transport
En route to digitized public transport
Modern and future-proof public transport must be digitized, both operators and associations agree. Passengers benefit digital services such as trip planning and ticket purchasing, live updates during their trips and always being well-informed despite deviations or disruptions.
Transport companies need a digital infrastructure and comprehensive data management to manage their fleets, lines, and journeys efficiently. With the help of up-to-date data that is always available, operators notice changes in demand immediately and can respond just as quickly to changes in mobility behavior with new offers.
The “ÖPNV Digitalisierungsoffensive” (public transport digitization initiative) in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, is looking at which approaches bring real added value for passengers and operators and offer "all bus and rail customers a modern, uniform and consistent information and service landscape," as it says on the initiatives’ own website.
The Rhine-Ruhr Transport Association (VRR) has been the region's public transport authority since 1980 and organizes local transport for the 7.8 million people who live there. It serves seven counties and 16 independent cities, covering some 300 million bus and train kilometers a year.
In the DILAX Lab, moderator Julia Hinze talks to two guests from VRR: Dr. Stephan Hörold is head of the Information & Innovation department. Sefa Tasdemir is Head of Information and Communication Technology at VRR and Head of the Central Coordination Office North-Rhine Westphalia, and both are actively involved in the public transport digitization initiative.
The Public Transport Digitization Initiative
Four major projects are bundled in the initiative, including the state-wide eTariff "eezy.nrw," which operates according to a check-in/be-out (CiBe) system, and the Information & Data Quality initiative. Data quality is considered a prerequisite for comprehensive passenger information, and the goal is to standardize interfaces and formats. The sub-project "Utilization information in timetable information" was integrated into the initiative because of the Corona crisis; usage forecasts are being further developed and standardized throughout.
The initiative focuses on the benefits for citizens. Mobility data from various transport systems, including sharing and on-demand transport, will be made publicly available, and data held there will be linked with other mobility-relevant data. The result is an overarching system for passenger information that replaces the individual systems that have existed up to now, each with their different structure, quality, and topicality, and makes multimodal mobility easily accessible.