9 Aug 2023

The S-Bahn Munich sets new standards in passenger information services

Passenger information services are a huge topic in the rail sector. New standards in this area will be set by the trains of the Munich S-Bahn, whose technology, design and equipment were recently presented.

Changes in passenger information services are also expected as a result of the recent decisions of the Federal Cartel Office on online ticket sales.

Passengers in Munich can rejoice as they will soon be travelling in S-Bahn trains that are among the most modern of all - Siemens Mobility will deliver the first vehicles to Deutsche Bahn (DB) from the end of 2028. Representatives of the Bavarian state government and the two companies recently presented the new trains together.

The new equipment on these trains will include free wi-fi, mobile phone-permeable window panes, USB and conventional sockets, among other things. The trains - of which Siemens Mobility will initially deliver 90 for around two billion euros - are also remarkable in terms of the passenger information services they offer.

On the outside of the continuous, more than 200-metre-long vehicles, there will initially be an LED band on the side in the respective line colour. This way, passengers at the stations will immediately recognise which line it is.

In addition, a total of 166 displays were installed on the outside and inside of the trains. On the outside, the more than 60 displays above the doors provide information about the line, the destination and the intermediate stops. Thanks to the high resolution, further information can also be displayed, such as the carriage capacity or blocked doors.

Inside, there are more than 100 additional displays. Among other things, they provide information about the next station, the course of the journey, current disruptions and offer space for a passenger TV. The screens above the doors also provide passengers with orientation concerning the platform at the next station. For example, passengers can be informed about exits or the location of lifts.

"Germany's most modern S-Bahn trains are an important component of the mobility transformation in the Munich region. Every single one of the new XXL trains replaces 1500 cars during rush hour," said Evelyn Palla, DB Board Member for Regional Transport, at the presentation of the trains. "This is the local transport of the future."

Real-time information thanks to state-of-the-art data processing for local and long-distance transport

"Many of our contacts in transport companies, administration or industry assume that IT-TRANS focuses solely on local passenger transport. This is of course not the case," explains Markus Kocea, Senior Product Manager at IT-TRANS. “In fact, exhibitors offer solutions for local, regional and long-distance transport requirements in line with the needs of passengers who want to travel and obtain information seamlessly intermodally, and interoperably.”

Another striking feature of the new passenger information solutions is that DB is increasingly relying on real-time information processing in the background. This is made possible by software systems that process data from the vehicles and make the infrastructure faster and better. Such solutions have led to ever better ways of informing passengers in long-distance transport in the recent years.

One example is the DB Navigator app from Deutsche Bahn. Today, it also provides information about train capacity or connections. Numerous other improvements are already foreseeable, for example customers could be given the option of reserving seats via Seatmap.

Such developments could also be accelerated by the recent decisions of the Federal Cartel Office on ticket distribution. This authority also commented on the sharing of real-time and forecast data, which could drive the overall market for passenger information services. Companies like Flixtrain or online ticket distributors such as Trainline and Omio will also be given the opportunity to better inform guests about connections. The market for passenger information services is in a state of flux - and therefore remains particularly exciting.