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Innovations for the Mobility of Tomorrow

As part of a project that is sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Chemnitz University is conducting a research project that focuses on detecting barriers within public transport – a network meeting will take place on 23 May 2019

Accessibility in regional public transport (ÖPNV) – with the amendment of the Passenger Transport Act, the Federal Republic of Germany has set its sights on this goal prior to the beginning of 2022. Chemnitz University of Technology is contributing to this within the framework of the project “OPENER”, an open web platform that assists in the collection of accessibility information at public transport stops. The “OPENER” project was launched in March, and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), supported by roughly 97,110 euros from the “mFUND” modernisation fund. Here, Dr Julia Richter from the Professorship of Circuit and System Design (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heinkel) at Chemnitz University works with collecting information on barriers at public transportation stops.

The project was launched with a presentation and discussion at the “Bus2Bus” trade fair in Berlin on 21 March 2019 at the mFUND booth. The “OPENER” project arose great interest among various stakeholders.

Barrier detection as a shared task

The impetus of the project is the realisation that the recording of accessibility information, with its detailed requirements according to the DELFI+ guidelines (meaning here, continuous electronic passenger information regarding public transportation stops), is financially and administratively challenging especially for small public transport networks that work in rural areas. Here, “OPENER” operates with a sort of crowdsourcing. This means that rather than a narrow group of experts handling the task, a large number of people can take part in the documentation process. This participation is possible with freely accessible mobile software, and participation is highly desired. “Everyone can ‘easily contribute’ simply by using the forthcoming smartphone application to document barriers at stops, whether through completing existing reports or by reporting small errors in previously collected reports,” says Julia Richter. In this way, transport associations should be able to improve their local transport by collecting data that would otherwise only be available via a large workforce.

Open platform provides data

The goal of the project is to develop and provide an open data platform for DELFI+-compliant data collection, provision and evaluation regarding barriers at public transport stops. In addition, structural measures will be evaluated, with the aim of achieving greater accessibility. For this purpose, detection tools without complex measuring and input requirements shall enable the registration of barriers directly at each stop. Open access to data and software shall then be the basis for new applications, as well as for recommendations addressed to the users and administrators of these transport associations.

Free access to the data will be given at the end of the project, in February 2020, through a connection to mCLOUD, the open data portal of the MBVI, as well as the publication of the software under an open source license.

Network meeting in May 2019

In order to reinforce cooperation, a joint meeting with transport associations, such as the Middle Saxony Transport Association (VMS), and other network partners in the “OPENER” project will take place on 23 May 2019. This meeting is initiated by the project “OPENER” and aims at promoting the goal of “barrier-free public transport” at regional level as well as across regions.

Background: mFUND of the BMVI

As a part of the mFUND research initiative, the BMVI has been funding research and development projects for data-based digital applications of Mobility 4.0 since 2016. In addition to financial support, mFUND supports networking initiatives across the political, business and research realm, as well as access to the mCLOUD data portal. Further information: http://bit.ly/mFUND_en.

Further information is available from Dr Julia Richter, Professorship of Circuit and System Design at Chemnitz University, Telephone +49 0371 531-37933, E-mail opener@etit.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Author: Matthias Fejes / Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Matthias Fejes
08.05.2019

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