Study “Mobility Turnaround 2030”:
Future public transport will be flexible and digitally networked

Public buses are and will remain the central component of a strong public transport system. However, buses only realize their full potential when they are linked to many other services. These include, for example, on-demand shuttles that run according to passengers’ needs. This is the result of the study “Mobility Turnaround 2030” carried out by DB Regio Bus and the Fraunhofer Institutes IESE (Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE) and IML (Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML).

Studie »Mobilitätswende 2030«: ÖPNV der Zukunft ist flexibel und digital vernetzt, Fraunhofer IESE
© Study "Mobility Turnaround 2030": Public Transport of the Future is Flexible and Digitally Networked, Fraunhofer IESE
Study "Mobility Turnaround 2030": Public Transport of the Future is Flexible and Digitally Networked

According to the experts, mobility on the road is attractive when people have a wide range of means of transport to choose from. It is crucial that these run frequently and in a way that fits in exactly with people’s everyday lives. At “mobility hubs” such as the Stuttgart Vaihingen S-Bahn station, Deutsche Bahn is already pursuing this approach. Here, passengers can book many climate-friendly mobility services in a digitally networked way and use them flexibly. These include, for example, rental bikes, carsharing, and charging stations for electric vehicles.

On-demand services, which passengers request via an app depending on their travel needs, also play a key role in making public transport more attractive. The shuttles are linked to regular road and rail services that run at close intervals. Since 2019, DB has already expanded the range of scheduled bus services with around 330 on-demand services, and has transported more than seven million passengers with these.

Frank Klingenhöfer, member of the Board of Directors of DB Regio Bus: “We want our passengers to be able to move quickly and seamlessly in their everyday lives. With intelligently linked public transport, we are fulfilling the wish of many people to be mobile flexibly and without their own car – even away from the big cities. This is our approach to integrated mobility. For more climate protection, high quality of life, and public transport services that are there when needed.”

Svenja Polst, Senior Digital Innovation Designer at Fraunhofer IESE: “Digitalization and networking are prerequisites for a new public transport system that is even more strongly oriented towards the needs of its users. In the best scenario, this new public transport system will be so attractive that people will prefer to use public transportation rather than their own cars. This is because mobility services that can be booked digitally and that are coordinated on the basis of data will create a public transport system that allows people to travel comfortably and reliably from door to door. And not just in metropolitan areas, but also on the outskirts and in rural areas.”

About this study
What does road-based public mobility look like today, and how can it contribute to the mobility turnaround tomorrow? DB Regio Bus investigated this question together with the Fraunhofer Institutes IESE and IML. The team of researchers undertook trend research, conducted interviews with experts, and described scenarios from the customers’ perspective. The study is available here for download[in German].


About DB Regio Bus
With approx. 420 million passengers in 2021, Deutsche Bahn is the largest provider of bus services in Germany. DB Regio operates more than 9,000 buses in almost 300 counties and independent cities. With this, DB Regio Bus ensures public transport, connection to climate-friendly rail services, and access to mobility in large parts of Germany. Every day, more than 9,000 employees are at work to provide passenger services. In cooperation with the DB subsidiaries ioki and CleverShuttle, DB Regio Bus brings integrated mobility to the road: ioki develops the apps for customers and drivers as well as the digital platform. CleverShuttle is responsible for the operative execution as well as for the operation.

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