Digitalization and innovation
Passenger information of the future
“Passenger information of the future” is the largest software development project for DB Netze stations to date. IRIS+, the new IT system, will allow information from the passenger information platform, the so-called “single point of truth” for passenger information, to be processed centrally. The impact of “Passenger information of the future” will be noticeable at stations through optimized layouts of existing displays. By the end of the year under review, 35 stations in Saxony had already been successfully fitted with this new system. In the long term – although already noticeable at some stations – the displays will be shown in various formats using a new generation of digital monitors. These will also make it possible to improve how new content, such as train delay updates and specific information during major disruptions, is displayed.
At stations, “Passenger information of the future” will be audibly noticeable thanks to the text-to-speech technology, which will enable more fluent, flexible announcements. DB employees and customer associations were involved in selecting the “new voice of the station.”
Piloting of frequency monitoring and crowd flow analysis
In the coming years, the number of passengers will continue to rise. In order to better understand what impact these increases will have on station operations, new frequency monitoring and crowd flow analysis technology is currently being tested. The first pilot was tested at Stuttgart central station in the year under review. By digitally counting passengers, we intend to recognize peak periods more precisely in future and to counteract operational bottlenecks more effectively, for example by adjusting passenger direction strategies.
Upgrading of facilities technology
DB Netze Stations operates many technical facilities at the stations, which require data connections to central systems. A large number of these facilities have so far been using modem and ISDNconnections to the Group’s internal telephone network and to the public telephone network. As part of the TOPKO program, the facilities concerned will be upgraded with improved IP technology. In the year under review, the upgrades included the complete replacement of the emergency call systems of about 2,400 elevators at stations. Further conversions included fire alarm systems, building automation and emergency call phones. There was a constant particular focus on maintaining the functionality of facilities by minimizing the downtime required for conversion. Migrations to the new technology are expected to be completed in 2019. The “IP at stations” project (newly connecting about 1,000 stations to broadband IP access points) laid the groundwork for future digitalization projects.
New DB Accessible app
The DB Accessible (DB Barrierfrei) app provides digital journey support first and foremost to those with mobility and sensory impairments, but also to all other passengers. It provides up-to-date information about train services at all German stations. The progress of long-distance trains can also be followed in real time and users receive important information about changes to their journey as push notifications on their smartphones. In addition, the app provides up-to-date information about whether elevators and escalators are functioning. The app is designed to be fully accessible and can therefore also be used by those with vision or hearing impairments. Information is provided audibly and visually.