Traffic jams, long lines, crowds, and stress are part of commuters’ everyday experience. Even those who use buses and trains and incorporate other mobility providers are familiar with the problems of overcrowding and searching for connections. But networked mobility with central data management that is mandatory by law offers a way out.
The first major step towards a centralized data hub with access to vast amounts of mobility data has already been taken. With the Mobility Data Marketplace (MDM), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) has created a national access point for all operators and users of mobility data as mandated by the EU. The EU promotes the development of intelligent transport systems (ITS) and in Germany the MDM has this role. It is a neutral B2B platform with defined standards for data exchange. The idea is to consolidate access to mobility data across different means of transport, network elements, and stakeholders and make it available for easy retrieval.
But that is not enough. The task now is to expand and optimize data management. Requirements from the delegated regulations for the European ITS Directive and the amended Passenger Transportation Act stipulate that this first generation of the German national access point for mobility data needs to be ported to a new data space technology. Following a call for tenders, T-Systems was awarded the contract in 2021 to set up a comprehensive ecosystem for mobility data.
“That was the birth, if you will, of the Mobilithek,” explains Sven Löffler from the Telekom subsidiary T-Systems, who is tribe and chapter lead of the Telekom Data Intelligence Hub (DIH). “Its purpose is to provide data from transport companies, road construction, and transport authorities and to supply information services. Deutsche Telekom is responsible for development and operation, as well as migration from predecessor systems.”
All stakeholders, from mobility providers to transport authorities and information providers, can exchange their digital information with Mobilithek. The strict standards of the International Data Space Association (IDSA) and its IDS technology for secure, trustworthy data sharing are decisive here. The IDS-based design facilitates data sharing while protecting data sovereignty. This means that competitors no longer have to fear losing control over the use of their sensitive data when it is exchanged. Mobilithek brings together all the information needed to plan a trip anywhere in Germany.
When the system goes live, the tasks of the MDM access point will be transferred to Mobilithek. Likewise, the ministry’s existing open data portal mCLOUD will be integrated into Mobilithek, but both predecessors can still be used.
But what does this mean in practice? Look no further than the Telekom DIH intermodal travel planning application enabled by a data space. The app was built as a minimum viable product (MVP) and demonstrator for planning purposes at RealLab Hamburg and tested with live data and visitors at the 2021 ITS World Congress in Hamburg. In 2022, RealLab HH received the “Innovation Award Real Laboratories” from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
“RealLab Hamburg is a real turning point. More than 30 well-known partners from science and business have not only developed new solutions together, but also tested them live. The result […] shows for the first time how the mobility of a region can be positively changed to make it more sustainable, safer, and more attractive,” says Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, the second-largest public transport operator in Germany.
The Telekom DIH team used data space innovation to construct novel data chains involving customer data to enable a mobility super app for new mobility chains that link up multiple modes of transport including public transport, micromobility, and shuttle services. The app is based on a data space to provide the necessary data, including static route and schedule data for public transport, dynamic data for parking, and locations of electric scooters, for example, as well as user membership deals and discounts across competing providers.
The good news is that intermodal travel can deliver impressive speed gains, which makes a shift to other modes of transport and lower CO₂ emissions a lot more likely. Who wouldn’t like to get from A to B faster? “Nothing is more effective with behavioral shift than a better, faster, and cheaper product” adds Sven Löffler. In the future, a link with Mobilithek could further enhance app performance with additional data, such as context and local event data.
Whether it’s the Hertha vs. Union derby at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, 30,000 people attending a Helene Fischer concert at the Munich exhibition center, or the Hanse Sail in Rostock attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city over the course of several days – major events or even just a storm that lasts for hours can mean it suddenly makes a lot of sense to do without e-scooters or to switch to car-sharing services.
Nothing is more effective with behavioral shift than a better, faster, and cheaper product.
Sven Löffler, Tribe & Chapter Lead Data Intelligence Hub