LHIND on IT-Trans 2024

The Future of Mobility: “Digitalization is inevitable"

Local public transport is a key factor in the environmentally friendly mobility transition. The use of new technologies is essential for its success. These technologies make it much easier and more efficient to engage customers and provide the necessary infrastructure.

Norderstedt, 31 May 2024 - In this interview, André Jacobs, Business Director Public Transport at LHIND, explains how digitalization can support the mobility transition.

How was the atmosphere at IT-Trans?

We were thrilled. There were a lot of visitors on site, both national and international. The response and interest in information, especially regarding digital technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots, were immense. It became clear that the future of mobility in public spaces will be digital, multimodal, and more climate friendly. Although we are still a good way from realizing this vision, we are on a very good path.

The international exchange was also important. There is still a lot of potential here. We can learn a lot from other countries, not only in terms of technologies but also regarding solutions and approaches. For example, cities like Paris or London have clearly defined zones and distribution systems, everything within these zones is uniformly regulated. We don’t know such systems in Germany because we have a very diverse landscape: over 400 different transport companies and transport associations, each with its own fare, own boundaries, and own zones. These are the major barriers that need to be overcome to simplify and make access more efficient for passengers.

Are public and private transport companies working together towards the same goal?

Especially at IT-Trans, there was intense discussion on how private transport companies can be bundled and made more effective with public transport companies. This is a desire both from politicians and the public, who wish for closer and more intensive cooperation. Of course, two different corporate cultures meet here. I think that the main challenge is to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in this collaboration, so that the customer can move freely everywhere.

Public transport faces the task of shaping the twin transformation, that is, the shift to sustainable, digitized mobility. Can both be achieved simultaneously?

Shaping and implementing mobility and digitalization is a major challenge for many companies, especially for budgetary reasons. But without investments in modern technologies, the transport revolution cannot be managed – digitalization is inevitable.

We see it as our task to make the world a better place in the field of digitalization with future-oriented solutions.

André Jacobs
Business Director Public Transport at LHIND

Here is an example of the Deutschlandticket just a small step toward simplifying the fare landscape and giving customers more freedom and flexibility when traveling. The transport companies must be economically viable. This is not only achieved through ticket sales. Additional services and solutions are necessary to retain customers and make the transport area attractive. Examples include the integration of bike and car sharing at train stations and airports, as well as the introduction of additional digital services. Another step is combining public transport tickets with admission tickets for museums or other attractions, so the customer doesn't have to book multiple apps and services but has everything bundled together.

Another problem, which also affects us as IT service providers, is the shortage of resources and skilled workers. We are desperately looking for qualified employees to implement digitalization and the associated projects. Many companies are therefore already looking for skilled workers on the international market.

Can artificial intelligence (AI) help in this regard?

AI can help to partially mitigate the shortage of skilled workers and relieve employees. It enables the optimization of tasks and processes and serves as a supportive tool that helps people to handle their daily tasks more efficiently and use resources more sensibly.

Forward-looking is the use of autonomous vehicles in passenger transport on partial routes. Although it will still take some time before this technology can be used in urban traffic, AI has now become so precise and versatile that its widespread and safe deployment is closer.

Are there examples of AI being used in operational practice?

We offer various solutions, especially chatbots for complaint management, first- and second-level support, and quick and efficient responses to customer inquiries. There are also great opportunities in contract management or subscription tracking to maintain the dialogue with the customer.

A classic example is the analysis of data and statistics. This enables us to respond quickly to events such as football games or concerts and provide additional trains or carriages. Additionally, forecast data helps to respond better to unforeseen events such as accidents or traffic jams.

Another example is the evaluation of customer reviews. Customers of a transport company can provide feedback via QR codes in trains and subways, which is analyzed by AI and provided to management as a dashboard. This data supports quick marketing and sales actions.

How can we as IT service providers support transport companies in overcoming the many challenges?

We can provide IT solutions that make it significantly easier and more efficient to reach out to customers and provide the necessary infrastructure. We see it as our task and duty to make the world a better place in the field of digitalization with future-oriented solutions.

About Lufthansa Industry Solutions

Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a service provider for IT consulting and system integration. This Lufthansa subsidiary helps its clients with the digital transformation of their companies. Its customer base includes companies both within and outside the Lufthansa Group, as well as more than 300 companies in various lines of business. The company is based in Norderstedt and employs more than 2,500 members of staff at several branch offices in Germany, Albania, Switzerland and the USA.