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Germany’s first ever CiBo ticketing service launches in Osnabrück

After two years of development and implementation by the Freiburg-based IT company highQ and other industrial partners, the digital mobility platform of Stadtwerke Osnabrück is scheduled to go fully live this year. The highlight will be a check-in/be-out (CiBo) ticketing service with retrospective best price billing – an all-time first in Germany.

It couldn’t be simpler. To check in on the bus, all it takes is a swipe on the smartphone and the passenger can even check out without having to do anything else. The system automatically registers when the passenger leaves the vehicle and reconstructs the travelled route or chain. Pricing is determined fully automatically in the background following the best-price principle. If someone travels several times on the same day or in the same week, the individual tickets are bundled into daily or weekly tickets so that the passenger always pays the lowest price. Stadtwerke Osnabrück (SWO) is one of ten partners of the communal transport network Verkehrsgemeinschaft Osnabrück (VOS). Its innovative CiBo ticketing system complies with VDV-KA/extension stage 3 and makes SWO a pioneer among German public transport companies.

CiBo ticketing is currently undergoing intensive testing. This year’s planned transition to regular transport services marks the culmination of SWO’s multi-stage digitisation strategy, which was launched in 2016. The aim is to progressively rollout an end-to-end digitised multi-modal mobility service. The development and implementation of the various modules is being led by the system houses highQ from Freiburg and eos.uptrade from Hamburg, with other industry partners involved as suppliers.

Following the redesign of the tariff structure to achieve greater customer orientation, the existing VOSPilot mobility app was correspondingly adapted and, in addition to local public transport, the regional car sharing service was also integrated. Further mobility offers such as the use of public car parks and bicycle parking facilities will also be added. Thanks to the system’s modular architecture, it can be easily expanded to include additional services in the future.

Since January 2019, the highQ-developed ControlApp for inspectors has also been in use. This enables electronic checking of travel authorisations and, if necessary, the issuing of increased transport charges (EBE). The app can be installed on Android-based ticket inspection devices or simply on standard smartphones. If a mobile printer unit is added to the system, the inspector can issue an EBE receipt directly on the spot. The ControlApp feeds the EBE data directly into the back-office system, where it is available in real time for billing, accounting or other purposes.

Central sales platform and multi-provider billing

Another milestone is the development of a web-based customer portal. Via this portal, every passenger can access the various mobility offers in Osnabrück, regardless of whether they are season ticket holders or occasional customers. Once they have registered, the offers they have selected are available to them in their VOSPilot. This also enables direct booking of intermodal, multi-provider journey chains. While the app itself was developed by eos.uptrade/Hacon, highQ was responsible for linking the various back-office systems and making the necessary interface adaptations. The backbone of the new online sales platform is the highQ fare management system TicketOffice.

All system modules meet the requirements for interoperable service according to the German VDV-KA guidelines and are therefore future-proof. “Together with Stadtwerke Osnabrück, we are doing pioneering work here”, explained Kai Horn, Head of Marketing and Sales at highQ. “We are particularly pleased that we were able to apply all the key highQ mobility modules in the new mobility platform. We would like to expressly thank the entire SWO team and the ICG consulting team for their outstanding cooperation and patience in implementing the numerous project milestones”, Horn continued.

The sales data of all integrated mobility providers are consolidated in the highQ fare.logiQ accounting system, thus enabling central, multi-provider billing. Once a month, the customer receives a clear summary invoice for the trips he or she has completed. “Thanks to the uniform, digital access to our various mobility services, the obstacles to taking advantage of local public transport and other environmentally friendly means of travel have been significantly diminished”, commented Maik Blome, Head of Marketing for Mobility Services at Stadtwerke Osnabrück. “Our new digital mobility platform provides our customers with one-stop access to all mobility offers in the Osnabrück area.” Blome anticipates that the convenient CiBo ticketing service in particular will win new customers for public transport in Osnabrück.

MaaS L.A.B.S. research project

Designing new mobility for and with users

Once again, highQ is playing a major role in an innovation research project. On 15 May 2019, the BMBF approved the research and development project “User-centred Mobility-as-a-Service Platform: Living, Automated, Demand- & Sharing-oriented”, known under its German acronym as MaaS L.A.B.S.

The aim is to develop innovative, digitally supported mobility services in Potsdam, Cottbus and Hanover. MaaS L.A.B.S. will shape traffic transformation through flexible and demand-oriented public transport, which will add automated microbuses to its high-performance offering and combine it with new car, bike and ride-sharing services. This ecological, cost-effective, social and city-friendly transformation of our mobility system is developing solutions that address the challenges of climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion. The innovative offers are founded on the changing values of the urban population and shifts in mobility behaviour that are already perceptible today.

Drawn from the social sciences, engineering and economics, the interdisciplinary MaaS L.A.B.S project team is placing road users at the heart of its development work and aims to test technologies and business models step by step to avoid planning errors. There are four interlinked services:

  • An app informs city residents about integrated mobility offers (public transport and sharing offers) and facilitates mobility planning and billing
  • Intelligent sharing services complement public transport to create an attractive overall service that is capable of competing with private cars
  • Automated microbuses pick people up at their doorstep and thereby improve the accessibility of large residential areas
  • Control systems ensure the seamless operation of this integrated transport system, which responds in real time to current passenger demand

For the first time, the MaaS L.A.B.S. system is looking in greater depth at the specific requirements of small- and medium-sized cities within the framework of research and development. In the cities of Potsdam, Cottbus and Hanover, “living labs” are being set up in which offers are developed in active dialogue with the population, urban development, transport planning and politics. Extensive demonstrations make the various technologies tangible and shape technology and process development by means of step-by-step feedback processes.

 

The research and development project is being funded by the BMBF for four years (15.5.2019-14.05.2023) in the funding line “Individual and adaptive technologies for networked mobility”. The total funding volume of the project amounts to around 5 million euros. The project consortium consists of three universities (TH Wildau, University of Siegen, FH Potsdam), three public transport companies (VIP Potsdam, Üstra Hannover, Cottbusverkehr) and five private-sector providers of data-based mobility infrastructure ranging from app development to sharing and hardware offerings.

Project partners:

  • Technische Hochschule Wildau
  • Universität Siegen
  • Fachhochschule Potsdam
  • ASEW-Stadtwerke-Netzwerk
  • Cottbusverkehr
  • Getaway
  • GHM Mobile Development GmbH
  • highQ Computerlösungen GmbH
  • IVU Traffic Technologies AG
  • üstra Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe AG
  • ViP Verkehrsbetriebe Potsdam

Revenue management for every size of business

The fare.logiQ EFM software

The fare.logiQ EFM software from Freiburg-based IT company highQ has so far been designed primarily for use in small to medium-sized transport companies. In its latest version, the system can now be scaled up as required and offers full functionality for even complex installations in large transport companies and associations. At the same time, highQ has preserved the system’s simple, intuitive operability.

“Revenue management is a central component in mobility solutions of every size”, explained Kai Horn, Head of Marketing and Sales at highQ. “That’s why we have made our system capable of meeting the exacting requirements of our major customers. fare.logiQ has already been in use across Germany for 15 years and now has full mass data capability. Our largest installations, such as DB Vertrieb, will soon have as many as one million customers in the system.”

Whether for small, medium or large companies, fare.logiQ makes revenue management much easier and clearer. This is because the sales and booking data of different accounting centres or affiliated companies are combined in a central revenue database. Appropriate interfaces (e.g. SAP) make it easy to transfer EFM data to general ledger accounting. Another advantage is that fare.logiQ is database independent, allowing it to be easily integrated into existing IT infrastructures. The system is infinitely scalable, from a small installation using a cost-free database to complex installations with an Oracle connection. Beyond that, fare.logiQ is also available as a SaaS solution.


eTicket Germany compliant
A frequent customer requirement for EFM systems is conformity with eTicket Germany, also known in industry circles as the VDV core application, or KA. As one of the first providers of VDV-KA-compliant solutions, highQ was instrumental in the development of the Germany-wide standard and was also the first to receive the relevant certification. This means that highQ products are proven to ensure safe interoperable operation.


Integrated BI and CPM tools
Large transportation companies in particular also attach importance to business intelligence and corporate performance management functions, which enable them to systematically analyse and optimise business processes. As a result, fare.logiQ now also features modular BI and CPM tools. Despite this enormous increase in functionality, one proven feature of fare.logiQ remains intact: the simple and intuitive operating concept. According to Kai Horn, this is currently being optimised together with user-experience experts for use in large transport companies. “This means we are now in a position to offer a suitable solution for companies of all sizes.”

 

fare.logiQ features

  • Completeness check of the device layers
  • Flexible cash management with optional Safebag administration
  • Driver accounting via driver accounts
  • Customisable consolidated booking function
  • Retrospective additions and deductions in the customer centre
  • Accrual accounting via daily and monthly financial statements
  • Monthly composite reports and statistical evaluations
  • Configurable managed, multi-client data management
  • Vendor-independent database technology, for example for Oracle or MS SQL Server
  • Integrated BI tool
  • eTicket Germany certified

Equalising commuter traffic

mytraQ app helps escape the daily traffic jam

The mytraQ app from the Freiburg-based software company highQ helps to equalise commuter traffic.

It is not just people and the environment that suffer from the daily grind of commuting, but companies as well – employees arrive at work already stressed or even late, and are less productive. A novel app promises to help remedy this situation.

“mytraQ” simplifies the daily commute with intelligent route recommendations based on an analysis of the needs of the company and the preferences of the employees. The digital solution is individually adapted to each company by highQ.

The goal is to create seamless connections from the front door to work and back again – via public transport, bicycle, on foot, in their own cars or as car pool passengers with colleagues. An integrated bonus system provides employees with additional motivation to make intelligent use of different modes of transport. “Sensible” commuting behaviour is rewarded with time miles, which can later be exchanged for bonuses. There is also a playful competition (“Time Miler of the Month”), so commuting can even be fun.

The development of myQommute is funded through the SB:Digital research project under the “Future of Work” programme. You can find more information here.

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