Nahverkehr auf Zukunftskurs © Hamburger Verkehrsverbund

Local traffic gearing up for future demands

SERIES: Digital change - Part 3: Hamburg's public transport goes digital. Driverless underground trains, mobile phone payment

Driverless trains and cars are to become reality in Hamburg when the new, driverless, fully automatic U5 starts rolling on the tracks. Optimised acceleration, driving and braking conditions make for more efficient use of energy and trains arrive punctually and and travel more often. The first underground trains will be built in 2021 and will hit the tracks in 2026.

Check-in/Be-out: buying tickets with smartphone app

The Hamburger Hochbahn is planning a mobile phone-based ticket system capable of automatically recognising where passengers boarded and alighted. A tender has been issued all over Europe to obtain an overview of technical solutions. The project called “Check-in/Be-out” will allow passengers to buy their tickets using an app and the first tests will start in 2017. Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, said: “Passengers want to be able to travel around Hamburg without cash and having to study the pricing system first.“

Hamburg’s mobility mix increasingly digital

Smart phones are also playing a greater role in Hamburg’s transport. Cyclists can rent one of 1,800 bikes at over 190 rental stations using the StadtRAD app. All available bikes are shown automatically on a digital map and can be borrowed and returned using the app. The same applies to car sharing offers such as car2go or DriveNow.

Successful switcch projekt

The switchh project, which enhances the HVV app, will allow swift, easy access to flexible transport offers. More new providers are expected this year. All HVV users, and not just subscribers, will be able to use the services of car2go, StadtRAD, Drive Now and cambio in future. Falk said: “Digitalisation will make shared mobility standard. The smartphone allows us to organise our transport freely and as we wish.” Hamburg’s 10 switcch points are to increase to 15 by 2017.

Wi-Fi expansion going well

Falk noted: “Attractive, consistent, customer-orientated public local transport is an important lever for a mobile and attractive city.” That means introducing free, comprehensive Wi-Fi access in all busses and at underground stations. Since April, tests have been underway on Bus No. 5 and at the Mönckebergstraße and Borgweg underground stops. Initial customers’ reactions, access figures and the downloaded amounts of date are good. A conclusive analysis will be done in autumn.

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