Breaking new ground

Experience the future of mobility i9n the mobility lab in Karlsruhe

Design the future and test it today: In cooperation with the City of Karlsruhe, PTV Group has established a Mobility Lab which officially opened on 22 June 2017. Here, various traffic planning- and model solutions will be linked to one another, and to other solutions, in order to test new ideas and approaches, as well as their effects on cities and regions world-wide. 

From real-time solutions for transport and traffic planning to new need-based mobility services (Mobility as a Service). The mobility laboratory will bring together international researchers, planners, decision-makers, operators and service providers.


With the Mobility Lab, the company would like to make a contribution to developing Karlsruhe into a smart city. Future-oriented solutions can be developed based on the Karlsruhe example also for other cities. Thus, the PTV Mobility Lab should bring together various developers and users of tools and models in order to link PTV software programs with one another and combine them with other products.


At the same time, the Mobility Lab offers a development and presentation environment that can also be used by other service providers and for other users. Therefore, it is also suitable for real-time applications from other cities where local public transport has also been incorporated into traffic management. The heart of the Mobility Lab is the Karlsruhe traffic management system based on PTV Optima software.


In this system, based on a down-to-the-hour transport model of the city of Karlsruhe, the PTV online detector data is provided with the traffic planning software. It comes from the city traffic control system from Siemens. Further data is provided by various commercial data suppliers such as Here, INRIX, MotionLogic and TomTom. A multitude of functionalities for transport planners arises from the linking of these models and data in the real-time traffic management system PTV Optima.

Diversity of applications

Thus, for example, the traffic situation in the entire road network – even in places for which no measurement data are available – can be calculated and estimated (propagation). Shortterm predictions of the traffic situation in the entire network generated in 15-minute intervals and up to 60 minutes in advance are also possible. Here, foreseeable occurrences, such as construction sites or planned events, as well as unforeseeable incidents, such as accidents, can be taken into account in traffic situation forecasts.

Another important aspect are action scenarios that can be developed in the Mobility Lab to react to various incidents – by changing the service offerings, for example, or adjusting signal programs for traffic lights at intersections or coordinating them to create a “green wave”. The action scenarios also include the switching on of variable message signs and the influencing of traffic demand through messages via radio, the internet or navigation systems.


In addition, the effects of various action scenarios can be simulated online in order to select appropriate measures. This last step, the development, selection and implementation of measures in the city of Karlsruhe, is actually the responsibility of its specialist departments and institutions (Traffic Department in the Civil Engineering Office). Here, PTV offers its support and the Mobility Lab.

Interesting for many cities

At the Mobility Lab official opening, PTV did more than show its guests the traffic management system for Karlsruhe with its short-term forecasts and scenario assessment. Applications from other cities and new services in the area of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) were also presented. Another highlight was the presentation of a solution for integrated and interactive city planning created by combining PTV Visum and the Urban Strategy tool from the Dutch research institution TNO.


Based on changes in the network or area use, this solution allows noise and pollutant emissions from traffic to be calculated online, including their dispersal and their effects on the city’s population.


The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), one of the most prestigious research institutions in the south-east, is focusing on the implementation of an urban cableway in Constance. Experts warn, however, that the project might drag on because two different studies containing similar questions are currently being undertaken for Constance.


One has been commissioned by the state from the KIT. The city, on the other hand, has appointed the global engineering company Ramboll with its headquarters in Copenhagen to examine the feasibility of the idea. Both studies should be finished by the end of 2017. The study to be prepared by the researchers from Karlsruhe will be provided to the city free-ofcharge.


One of the questions addressed in the studies is what the prerequisites for the local public transport system would have to be to ensure that citizens give up driving their cars. The Minister of Transport, Winfried Hermann (the Greens), considers cableways to be a good solution; the state has already amended the laws to ensure that funding can be provided not only for tramways and suburban railways but also for cable cars.


As early as 2016, the KIT conducted research on cities where aerial cableways have already been built, planned or - rejected. At the moment, Constance’s chances are still very much alive.