13 Dec 2023

Karlsruhe – the place to be

Are you going to in Karlsruhe for IT-TRANS? If so, we can’t wait to see you. But be sure to find time to explore the city too!

When tourists think of Karlsruhe, they think of the Centre for Art and Media ZKM, the castle with the Baden State Museum, the beautiful historic buildings of the fan-shaped city, and an abundance of greenery.

When we think of Karlsruhe, however, we think of computer science, technology and, the recipient of the world's first e-mail. In short, the "Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion"!

Photo: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Karlsruhe has a long tradition of educational and research institutions, with more than ten universities - from technology and economics to art and music - characterising the city in the south of Germany. But did you know that Karlsruhe is home to the first and largest computer science faculty in Germany? Today, it’s one of the world's most renowned research universities: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), one of thirteen "Universities of Excellence" in Germany.

KIT not only offers degree programmes in industrial engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, but also various exciting mobility schemes, including the TEMPUS project for city bus platooning.

Karlsruhe is also home to the FZI Research Centre for Information Technology, which is renowned for its work on autonomous shuttles, as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Security in Information Technology.

Incidentally, the aforementioned institutions and many other partners are regularly on the road as part of the "Karlsruhe Mobility Lab" presenting innovations created in Karlsruhe at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona and - of course! - at IT-TRANS 2024.

An example of technology meeting mobility is the Fraunhofer ISI MobileCityGame project which was awarded the German Mobility Prize in November 2023. It involved the creation of an app that city planners, municipal decision-makers, transport companies and other interested parties can use to determine the impact of future transport decisions. How much CO2 can I save if I build a cycle highway, for example? Or how much more efficient will my public transport solution be if I relocate a bus route or create a new one? In this interview, project manager Dr Claus Doll explains what the MobileCity app can do and for whom it is intended.

Photo: Fraunhofer ISI

Dr Doll, this MobileCity App – what is it?

With the MobileCity app, we want to shine a spotlight on the use of transport and sustainability models, and make them accessible to everyone. To achieve this, we have pared back various complex simulation models so that they can be used on tablets and smartphones. The app was devised after a huge amount of research and expert discussions, and utilising our team’s knowledge of mobility, technology, sociology and psychology, economics and the environment.

As a result, we have created an interdisciplinary and dynamic tool that illustrates the impact of mobility transition strategies on transport, climate, quality of life and finances up to 2050.

Which areas of application are most suited to the MobileCity App?

We see fields of application in the preparation of municipal mobility plans, communication, citizen participation and the training of future experts. MobileCity is intended to stimulate discussion among experts and the public. The design of an appealing and intuitive interface was and is crucial for the use and dissemination of MobileCity.

So everybody can use this App?

Following a three-year research project supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, we have now published a free app in the Apple and Google app stores and invite everyone to try it out. I, along with colleagues from two Fraunhofer Institutes, four KIT institutes and Takomat GmbH, would be delighted if the German Mobility Award 2023 could help to further develop MobileCity, and adapt it for use in other cities.

Thank you for these insights – and congratulations!

By the way: In our next blog, we will explore a major construction project that is furthering the development of public transport in Karlsruhe.