We sat down with Dr. Uwe Jasnoch to discuss the news that Munich, Germany, selected Hexagonfor their shared mobility project.
Dr. Jasnoch explains why it is a great example of a city leveraging technology to better manage and understand the impact of shared mobility services. The first-of-its-kind solution in Germany will provide a data-driven approach to long-term decision-making around mobility that could benefit citizens and visitors.
Tell us about the shared mobility project in Munich, Germany. What is the goal?
The city of Munich is implementing a smart monitoring system from Hexagon to better manage and understand the impacts of shared mobility services in the city. The solution will monitor shared vehicles, such as e-scooters, bikes, and cars, allowing them to track, visualize, and analyze IoT data from a variety of mobility providers. The solution will also be linked to a dynamic digital twin of the city, fusing the real and digital worlds.
The city understands that shared mobility must be recognized as a player in the multi-modal transportation mix, and micro-mobility (e-scooters / bikes) plays an especially significant role in last-mile transport. One of the many benefits of micro-mobility is that it can help achieve greener, carbon-neutral cities, as it reduces car traffic and, therefore, CO2 emissions. To ensure micro-mobility is included in future city mobility concepts, government leaders first need to understand where it happens, when it happens, and how it happens. Being able to provide that data to stakeholders was the motivation for this project.
This project is the first of its kind in Germany. What inspired it?
Munich has set its environmental goals as part of the city agenda. To fulfill the agenda, traffic and mobility must be evaluated. The well-established public ground transportation of subways, trams, and buses already plays a key role. However, the so-called last mile is quite an important piece, and there are a number of good reasons to utilize micro-mobility vehicles. However, as mentioned before, prior to including this concept in future plans, understanding how micro-mobility is applied today is fundamental.
What role will technology play? Specifically, how will Hexagon’s M.App Enterprise solution help achieve the project goals?
Technology, as almost always, serves as the enabler for creating insights. Shared mobility is composed out of different vehicle types—from cars to e-scooters—and different providers. So, the first challenge is to integrate those different data sources with individual interfaces into a kind of “normalized” model as the basis for analytics.
Second, you need an explorative environment to execute the business intelligence process for data, which has a high degree of spatial and temporal aspects. This is where M.App Enterprise (for the visual analytics) and Xalt | Integration (for the data feed part) is perfectly suited. Both are low-coding environments forming an excellent basis to provide interactive spatial reports with a high degree of flexibility to react to new demands.
How will the city leverage digital twin technology?
Digital twin technology is facing growing importance for cities. Hexagon, with its various imagery and 3D sensors as well as high-end visualization software, is supporting cities on this issue. In the case of shared mobility, the created dashboards and information are representing one piece of a digital twin and should/could be included in this concept. The ability to include historic and real-time data into 2D and 3D models leads to better understanding of city challenges and needs.
IoT data from a variety of mobility providers will be tracked, visualized, and analyzed. How will this data be used, and how will it influence decisions?
Whenever it comes to monitoring and tracking, it should be mentioned first that the data processing absolutely conforms to GDPR requirements. This includes that the concrete route of a certain vehicle at a given time is unknown to the system. It has the start and end coordinates of the rental as well as the duration. Aggregating this data is a key element in figuring out the pattern of usage. In addition, based on the available data, one can distinguish the difference between a more point-to-point usage versus a purely touristic usage.
By applying a suitable analysis, the most probable route of a certain point-to-point usage can be determined. With enough rental information, the system can create a traffic density map with the most likely routes of highest usage, so that the city traffic manager can check if those routes have enough safety measures (like a dedicated bike lane) to protect the different traffic participants from each other.
How will the project benefit residents and visitors of Munich?
As pointed out, the data gathered is primarily future oriented. So, residents and visitors over time will endure fewer traffic jams and perhaps enjoy more greenspace as demand for parking spots will decrease due to the reduced number of individual cars. However, this is more an evolutionary process than a revolutionary process.
How will this project evolve over time? What are the short-term and long-term goals?
When it comes to traffic, there are so many topics that are linked to shared mobility, such as curbside management or parking space optimization, just to name a few. And these will continue to gain greater importance over time. Couple that with the increasing trend of shared mobility and electric vehicles. Beginning with charging station occupation to areas of usage, this will get more and more attention because of the urgent need to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
What is your advice to other cities looking to start their own shared mobility initiative?
Looking at our latest project in a district of Berlin, this process seems to be a more natural way to handle and see shared mobility as one piece of the puzzle for future modern mobility. To make this puzzle piece fit within the picture, the city needs to understand the mechanisms and patterns of this kind of mobility. The existing offering provides cities the basis for gathering all necessary insight to shape their plans for future mobility.
Dr. Uwe Jasnoch joined Hexagon in 2007. Currently, he is the global vice president of business development at Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial Division. Before joining Hexagon, Dr. Jasnoch founded the company GIStec, a spin-off from Fraunhofer-IGD, where he oversaw the GIS department. Dr. Jasnoch authored his dissertation for a PhD from the Technical University of Darmstadt on the topic of Open Distributed CAD System Environments Supporting Concurrent Engineering. He has also written numerous articles and has organized seminars, workshops, and university classes on the topic of GIS and computer engineering.