Passenger services

Fraunhofer Rail offers its customers a comprehensive range of public passenger services, especially rail services.

Many aspects of the planning and operation of passenger services are the subject of the projects being carried out at the institutes of Fraunhofer Rail, whose partners come from both politics and industry. There is particular emphasis on the development of solutions based on state-of-the-art IT technologies.


Fraunhofer Rail's planning range in public passenger services operates on several different levels:

  • At political level the focus is on long-term strategic planning. Fraunhofer Rail creates supply-and-demand scenarios at European level, which include the assessment and forecast of the social costs of means of transport and scenarios featuring technological, social and institutional trends in the traffic sector.
  • For planning in transport companies, the planning chain is supported by the skills of Fraunhofer Rail, which include not only strategic network planning and tender planning but also operative issues involving vehicle circulation, personnel deployment and signposting concepts.
  • From the user's point of view, the focus is on the planning of the journey in terms of its continuity. Beginning with the passenger's desired journey, it includes timetable information, ticket purchase, passenger care and smooth connections. The experts at Fraunhofer Rail analyze inhibition thresholds in compound journeys, investigate changes of modes of transport during their course, and optimize connections in public transport timetables.

Cross-references to other modes of transport are also of great significance in planning. The services offered by Fraunhofer Rail include the investigation of reasons for changing means of transport and, by the same token, reasons for not doing so, concepts for linking individual motorized traffic and public transport (P+R concepts, car-park information systems), and solutions for intermodal timetable information.


In the transport companies, operational procedures are optimized on the basis of modern technologies and innovative services provided at the interface to the customers. Fraunhofer Rail supports the transport companies with R&D services such as the following:

  • In some conurbations, users of public transport are already offered mobile ticketing. The experts at Fraunhofer Rail are involved in the development of the innovative ticket servers required for this. This development is based on the concepts and solutions for electronic fares and electronic fare management in public transport.
  • To make it as easy as possible to purchase a ticket, scientists at Fraunhofer Rail examine ticket machines with a view to simplifying the interface between traveler and machine.
  • If public passenger services are to be made more attractive, up-to-date, individual information for travelers is essential throughout their journey. The aim of Fraunhofer Rail's passenger information project is comprehensive 'passenger care', particularly in intermodal nodes, for example by 'location-based services'.
  • So that the continuity of journeys can be ensured when services are disrupted too, it is of great importance to make sure that connections can be reached and that the connection network is optimized. The experts at Fraunhofer Rail develop solutions which support the transport companies when it comes to deciding whether a vehicle should wait or depart.

Information technologies

Modern public passenger travel is not possible without the extensive use of IT technologies. Fraunhofer Rail works on the development of IT concepts and solutions for public transport, the emphasis being on the following issues:

  • At the interface to the passenger, applications on static systems and also increasingly on mobile devices play an essential role. Fraunhofer Rail works on navigation solutions for public passenger travel, which also include pedestrian navigation. Special attention needs to be paid to the design and evaluation of the interface between traveler and machine.
  • Fraunhofer Rail's services for transport companies include data integration, the development of interfaces for data exchange and the import and export of data between companies and external service providers.
  • An innovative approach being developed by the scientists at Fraunhofer Rail is the gathering of data and updating of the overall picture by setting up and using a 'feedback channel' from passengers with UMTS mobile radio telephone devices to the traffic operators.
  • Opening up the use of satellite navigation technology as a basis for new services in public transport is another focal point of research at Fraunhofer Rail. The combination of satellite location with other localization technologies inside buildings and vehicles is essential for the development of integrated location-based services.