GERMANY: The city of Köln, Deutsche Bahn and Nahverkehr Rheinland have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate for three years on ‘smart city’ transport initiatives.

The aim is to harness digital technologies and other innovations to make public transport more environmentally friendly and comfortable. Areas of focus will include integrated mobility, intelligent urban logistics and attractive railway stations.

Specific initiatives could include the development of ‘mobility hubs’ at railway stations with bicycle and e-scooter parking spaces, as well as stops for on-demand shuttles that could be booked via apps. The hubs could also have lockers for the collection of parcels that have been delivered by low-emission vehicles.

DB and the city of Köln expect to invest a total of €1·2m in smart city projects in 2020 and 2021.

‘Increasing traffic, whether by commuters, customers or logistics, makes it difficult to achieve the goal of a liveable city’, said NVR Managing Director Dr Norbert Reinkober. He called the MoU ‘an important step on the road to environmentally and socially responsible inner city traffic’, adding that ‘it is also important to implement measures across the region, because traffic problems do not stop at local borders’.