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Joint Project at Chemnitz University of Technology Honored With German Mobility Award

In order to further advance accessibility in public transport, Chemnitz University of Technology, together with ten project partners, has developed an app for recording accessibility data at stops in the "OPENER next" project, which was awarded a prize by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport

The joint project OPENER next, under the leadership of the Professorship of Circuit and System Design (head: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heinkel) at Chemnitz University of Technology, has been presented with the German Mobility Award 2022 in the category "Data and Innovations". Ten winners were selected from around 300 submissions through several selection stages and honored by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport with the German Mobility Award, one of the most important awards in the field of "Digital and Mobility" in Germany, in Berlin on October 27, 2022.

Citizens become part of a nationwide mobility project

The vision of the award-winning joint project OPENER next is to make public transport in Germany more attractive. "The project's approach is based on social cooperation, which means that citizens can contribute to the nationwide recording and updating of stops and their characteristics using a data collection app that we have developed," Heinkel reports. He says that the unique feature here is not only that the recording effort is distributed across several shoulders, but also that the recording occurs continuously and on demand. "The specially developed OpenStop app is designed to allow interested residents to quickly and easily record barriers and characteristics of bus stops by answering short questions, such as when waiting for the next bus," says René Apitzsch, research assistant at the professorship.

Recorded data is transferred to the information systems of the transport companies

The app collects data in a standardized manner and transfers it to OpenStreetMap, a worldwide shared open database. Because the database is freely accessible, other projects can already build on it and develop their own solutions. The data will be used to improve route information in public transportation as part of the OPENER next project. "This means that everyone, especially those with mobility, visual or hearing impairments, can find out before they start their journey whether a planned route is barrier-free and what alternatives may exist," Apitzsch says. Furthermore, the data will be used to implement barrier-free indoor navigation at train stations as well as to plan the expansion of bus and train stops in a more inclusive and needs-based manner.

OpenStop app is available for Android and soon also for iOS devices

Anyone interested can get the OpenStop app for free from the Google Play Store for Android devices and soon the App Store for iOS devices. Furthermore, the source code of the continuously developed open source app is available on GitHub. "This means that anyone can report bugs, make suggestions for improvement, or even actively participate in app development," the project manager adds.

Background: "mFUND" innovation initiative

Since 2016, the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport has funded research and development projects related to data-driven digital applications for Mobility 4.0 as part of the mFUND innovation initiative. In addition to financial assistance, the mFUND promotes networking among stakeholders in politics, business, and research through a variety of event formats.

Background: Project OPENER next

The joint project OPENER next has been funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport with more than 1.7 million euros since April 2021. The project partners of the Professorship of Circuit and System Design at Chemnitz University of Technology include eight directly involved partners and six associated partners. Direct partners are: datagon GmbH, Disy Informationssysteme GmbH, HaCon Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, IVU Traffic Technologies AG, Nahverkehrsservice Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH, Smartris Solution GmbH, hd Management Consulting GmbH and TU Darmstadt. Associated partners: DELFI e. V.,  Deutsche Bahn Station&Service AG, Eisenbahn-Bundesamt, Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen, City of Chemnitz, Mitteldeutscher Verkehrsverbund GmbH,  Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH, Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen GmbH, die Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe GmbH and Sozialhelden e. V.

For further information, please contact René Apitzsch, research assistant at the Professorship of Circuit and System Design at Chemnitz University of Technology, tel. +49 371 531-33845, e-mail rene.apitzsch@etit.tu-chemnitz.de

Matthias Fejes

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