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HaCon Blog

Here you can find everything you need to know about HaCon, our products HAFAS and TPS as well as the latest innovative features and functions. In addition to our press releases and social media activities, our blog provides even more information for customers, editors and everyone interested in HaCon. Enjoy!

The Kids App Project

by Peter WellerJul 13, 2016

In the past months, we at the HaCon Mobility Lab in Berlin have devoted ourselves to a new exciting project: A mobility app for children. We consulted studies, conducted interviews with parents and held workshops with the children. At this year's HAFAS User Conference, we presented our research results and a kids app prototype. 

Children between the ages of 8 and 12 are digital natives and naturally mobile – in the technical sense with smartphones etc. and in getting from A to B by bus and train. Children use public transport on their way from school to their hobbies, to visit friends and to get home. Parents typically practice these routes and connections with their kids – but when a bus gets cancelled or a child hops onto the wrong train, children often don’t know what to do and are likely to feel uncomfortable with the situation. This is why we asked ourselves: Why not develop an app with less content but higher user value? An app that focuses on the target group and is tailored to the children’s needs? We let kids show us how they travel, which routes and means of transport they use and what difficulties they face, e.g. confusing stops, long waiting times, etc. We learned a lot in our interviews with the kids and their parents, for instance many children like to shape their mobility on their own and have fun instead of seeing it as routine. But: Children shouldn’t perceive their surroundings only by means of a smartphone. This is why our app intends to encourage kids to become increasingly more independent and grow up to be confident public transport users.

Kids_App_01

      Kids_App_02

Connection Search and Routing

“I” in the center: All destinations are arranged surrounding the child – both in the view of favorites (left) and on the map (right). Start and destination are defined via simple drag and drop, without entering any addresses. Here, the young user is looking for the best way to school. The connection overview (left) is clearly structured and provides a simple summary of travel times and changes along the way.

Kids_App_04

      Kids_App_05

Features on the Wish List

If the bus has been cancelled or the child gets lost and doesn’t know what to do, there is an always-visible button that sends his or her current position to the right person, whether mom, dad, grandma or neighbor (left). This emergency button was a feature that both parents and children explicitly had on their wish lists. Last but not least, in order to meet the young target group‘s wish for personalization, kids can create their own avatar in the app (right). It can be individually adapted according to one’s own imagination – this creates identification and allows the user a playful way to learn to use new functionalities.

The Sky Is the Limit: Pushing Travel Frontiers

by Michael FrankenbergJan 27, 2016

digital_network_e

About the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and opportunities for public transport.

Public transport and digitalization – how do these two go together? We believe that chances for public transportation have never been bigger than right now! We are linked in via technology and manage our daily life through the use of smartphones and apps. I am able to track a package delivery within a few meters of its actual position, control the heating via tablet and open my Car2Go with my smartphone. Thanks to digital technologies, public transport has significantly caught up: from guidance to the reserved seat, to information on changing trains, ticketing or finding the right vehicle, to routing from door to door – all these functionalities are provided by only one app. The content within our HAFAS apps is becoming more and more detailed. We aim to create mobility solutions that guarantee comprehensive travel assistance from A to Z.quote_michael_frankenberg

The increasing amounts of sensors surrounding us allow for better communication with technology and vice versa. Today’s smartphones, for instance, recognize our current position and also if we are standing on a hill and the time it will take to reach the next station with our current walking speed. As software specialists, we benefit from these developments and adapt our apps accordingly. Moreover, we are actively involved in testing new technological infrastructures, e.g. by equipping stations with beacons that enable routing within buildings. At Berlin’s station City Center, for instance, we have embarked on a pilot project in cooperation with the BVG that facilitates orientation underground by means of beacons.

Apps communicating with transport companies and passengers

Transport companies communicate with their passengers by means of apps, but what about the other way around? Why shouldn’t it be possible for passengers to inform the bus driver via their journey planner app about how many stations they wish to travel until they hop off or change buses? Thanks to the seamless interaction between our journey planner apps and driver apps, as can be witnessed with HAFAS Smart VMS, you can already push that red stop button in the bus via app, or even make your precise journey request including transfer stops and connection reliability. Thus, drivers know exactly where people want to hop on or off and where they need to wait for passengers who might be delayed. The driver apps communicate with each other, so the control center no longer needs to interfere.

The future is smart

The current digital evolution offers exciting opportunities. Our Berlin-based HaCon Mobility Lab does intensive research on the intelligent linking of all relevant means of transport. The smartwatch’s value will increase even further in the future and considerably expand the ticketing and navigation possibilities. Public transport, which has once been established for mass transportation, is now experiencing changing paradigms – it is getting more and more tangible and controllable for the individual.

Illustration: © fotolia / ellagrin

Launching Smart Mobility Blog

by Leonie SegermannNov 23, 2015

Smart_Mobility_Blog_LogoHaCon is proudly presenting smartmobilityblog.hacon.de, our brand-new URL for topics surrounding new mobility.

In between new technologies, mobility services and applications, users and their experiences - HaCon is right in the center of it all! In 2014, we established the Berlin-based HaCon Mobility Lab that is dedicated to smart mobility, the ingenious way of linking all means and options of transport, and the latest trends in apps. "Berlin is the European pioneer in both supply and demand of connected transport solutions," says Christian Maertins, Head of HaCon Mobility Lab. "The city provides the ideal conditions to understand mobility processes even better and anticipate the future in a playful way."

This is where our Smart Mobility Blog comes into play: With key topics such as connected mobility and smart cities, interviews, guest posts and other contributions, we provide an interesting read for all those mobility enthusiasts out there. See for yourself!

Smart_Mobility_Blog_Screen

HAFAS meets TICKeos in Berlin

by Kristina SpoerlAug 25, 2015

BVG_start_eBerlin is now benefitting from HaCon’s partnership with EOS UPTRADE: The BVG’s new mobile app called “FahrInfo Plus” provides both timetable information and ticketing and comfortably navigates passengers through the traffic jungle in the German capital.

The Berlin commuter and underground trains, buses and trams are the lifelines of the vibrant German metropolis. Every year, the Berlin transport company BVG carries more than 900 million commuters and tourists across all districts – from Adlershof to Zehlendorf. An indispensable guide through the city, the BVG app “FahrInfo Plus” for iPhone, Android or Windows Phone now includes important HAFAS components as well as a fresh design and numerous innovative features.

The app provides all important functionalities you need to comfortably get from A to B – like routing, push notifications and mobile ticketing. Brand-new features include the integrated departure countdown and an exit alert that help visitors and night owls to never miss a certain station or stop and make sure that passengers always get off the train or bus at the right time and place. Additionally, the OSM-based map views were streamlined and now feature the BVG’s transport network and routes and also display footpaths. Users can save favorite routes and lines and easily access them later. Moreover, available vehicles of the two car sharing providers car2go and DriveNow can be displayed on an interactive proximity map and even be reserved via “FahrInfo Plus.”

www.bvg.de

Property Search with HAFAS

by Leonie SegermannJun 16, 2015

Logo_ImmoScout_eHaCon technology is not just for transport companies! ImmobilienScout24.de, the leading digital platform in Germany for residential and commercial properties, has successfully introduced travel time search.

Searching for rentals or real estate can be very annoying. In some German cities, finding property that corresponds to your own ideas has become extremely difficult, if not impossible. Specialized search engines and platforms provide valuable assistance and are often the first choice for apartment-hunters.

For ImmobilienScout24, Deutsche Bahn and HaCon implemented a special service: The travel time search allows users to limit results according to their distance from a certain address – not just in terms of geographical proximity, but also depending on the time needed to get there by public transport. If, for instance, people are looking for a new home located within 15 minutes of their workplace, the search results can be defined accordingly.

“The essential factor is not the radius but the actual travel time with public transportation,” says Katrin Dreyer from ImmobilienScout24 and explains their decision for HaCon technology: “One of our surveys revealed that every third employee has a daily commute of up to one hour. A wish frequently expressed is that of living in the countryside or close to nature. This is often possible within an acceptable time frame as long as the ideal transport connection is taken into account. This way, you can discover locations you never thought you might consider.”

HaCon’s proximity search is a popular journey planner feature with customers of Deutsche Bahn, transport associations in Berlin, Innsbruck and Vienna and Samtrafiken in Sweden. In addition to stops and stations, it links geocoded data with the journey planner, such as tourist attractions or hotels. This brings real benefit to business travelers who need to find an accommodation within half an hour or to families who choose their day trip destination according to its distance in travel time.

www.immobilienscout24.de

Landets Puls: New HAFAS Live Map in Denmark

by Michael GaborFeb 24, 2015

Since shortly, travelers have been enjoying the benefits of Landets Puls: Banedanmark's new live map provides an interactive real-time service that visualizes the entire passenger train traffic in Denmark. 

The HAFAS-based journey planner app Rejseplanen has established itself as the number one source of timetable information for millions of passengers in Denmark. Now, Landets Puls has been launched as an additional service that shows the train movements in real time, including all long-distance connections and regional traffic, DSB Øresund and Copenhagen's S-Tog. Colored icons immediately reveal whether the trains are currently on time – one click generates more detailed information on the route, stops and possible delays. If desired, users can hide trains and lines not relevant to them. 

Landets Puls can be reached via Banedanmark's and DSB's website and downloaded from the app stores for Android, Windows Phone and iPhone.


HAFAS Live Maps are popular all over Europe: In addition to Banedanmark, HaCon customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom visualize their real-time train and bus movements this way.

HaCon at the InnoTrans 2014

by Kristina SpoerlOct 06, 2014

Great interest in smart mobility solutions for public transport: At the Berlin-based InnoTrans, HaCon presented stand visitors with the latest news in HAFAS, TPS and Consulting. For the first time, HaCon shared a stand with EOS UPTRADE as a symbol of their close partnership.

At the centre of attention were developments of mobile HAFAS applications: Apps for wearables and iOS 8, integrated mobile ticketing or travel information – the HaCon team gave revealing insights into the current state of smart mobility solutions.

Of particular interest were HaCon's presentations with wearables, especially smartwatches and their potential as journey planner output channels. In addition to displaying timetable information, our IT specialists also demonstrated ticketing and navigation with the new devices.

Stand visitors and potential customers joined in for a vital exchange of experiences and interesting discussions with the teams of both HaCon and EOS UPTRADE. The stand party on the first night of InnoTrans provided further opportunity for conversation in an informal atmosphere.

We look forward to InnoTrans 2016!

“emma” (E)Mobilizes Lake Constance

by Daniel SchmidtMay 23, 2014

Electro mobility gets even more attractive with “emma”: The new journey planner offers passengers an extensive range of services in the area of Lake Constance. At the e-mobility-world 2014 in Friedrichshafen (Germany) from May 23-25, the project partners introduce the HAFAS-based app that facilitates intermodal door-to-door navigation and is now also available for iPhones.

The “emma” project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and aims to minimize passengers’ waiting times while they travel through the rural regions around Friedrichshafen and the Lake Constance district. Therefore, e-cars are provided to complement public transport services. In order to make it as easy as possible to get from A to B, HaCon developed a journey planner that links bus and rail connections with private transportation and helps to promote e-cars as an integral part of public transport within the region. 

The service is available on www.emma-pub.hafas.de and as an app for Android and iOS. After searching a connection, the user can see right away whether there is an “emma” e-car available and how it can be reached. The journey planner has a multitude of useful functions that facilitate traveling: for instance, delays and alternative connections are displayed in real time. Dynamic maps enable exact routing, whether heading for a certain address, a stop or a charging station. The density of information on the map automatically adapts to the zoom level: With a single click, it is possible to display route networks and stops for different means of transport as well as “emma” charging stations.

The departure boards show all departing and arriving vehicles for any station and stop and are particularly user-friendly regarding their design and function. Thanks to the proximity search that links geocoded data with the journey planner, users can choose destinations according to their distances in travel time by bus, rail, car, bike or foot.

TPS Integrator refines UIC’s MERITS Data

by Dr. Frank MartiniFeb 25, 2014

In the MERITS database (Multiple European Railways Integrated Timetable Storage), the UIC collects all trains of 32 connected European railways. Since February, the UIC has been using TPS Integrator to guarantee a consistent quality within MERITS. Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) is also gradually introducing the HaCon software to unify railway and local public transport data from more than 130 sources in 15 different formats. Moreover, the SNCB (Belgium) and NSB (Norway) have opted for TPS Integrator. 

Each railway company provides MERITS with its own data and can in turn use all existing information of the participating railways for its own journey planners and distribution systems. However, duplicate and conflicting information within the data sets are inevitable in international transport. This concerns orthographical differences in naming stops and stations, varying train numbers, platforms as well as departure and arrival times. TPS Integrator closes the gap between train planning and using timetable data in distribution systems by automatically identifying identical or similar timetable or train information from several sources and deleting or harmonizing them, respectively. The HaCon software validates this information consistently and exports it if necessary according to the level of requirement. A web-based and multi-client capable tool, TPS Integrator enables both the data upload from the corresponding systems and the centralized collection and maintenance via web browser.

TPS Integrator is a very useful tool for all transport companies that share and exchange their own data with other public transport providers in order to offer door-to-door routing and additional information to their customers. Finally, passengers benefit from fully detailed timetable information.

Responsive Website for www.irishrail.ie

by Dirk EstersFeb 11, 2014

As of today, the Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail website features a new, dynamic structure in order to guarantee optimized screen views and intuitive navigation for countless different display sizes and resolutions of various devices.

The requirements imposed on modern web design are increasing as smartphones and tablets are becoming ever more popular. Navigation, images, text elements - everyone expects a convenient user interface that is perfectly adapted to each and every application context and device, whether mobile or stationary. 

HaCon has now successfully implemented such a flexible web interface for Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, the national railway operator in the Republic of Ireland. The new, relaunched version of www.irishrail.ie provides users with streamlined screen views in terms of technology and design - regardless of whether they are using a desktop PC, a tablet or a smartphone. First and foremost, usability was an important factor, as screen views optimized for touch devices have to meet special requirements. Moreover, mobile user interface concepts differ considerably from those of conventional websites: Smartphones, for example, are typically used for short-term timetable requests, whereas the "regular" journey planner website has become a popular means for long-term and comprehensive travel planning.

For Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, HaCon used responsive web design. With this approach, a base value defines the maximum width of the website - the sizes of all individual elements are proportionate to this value in percentage terms. The result is a fluent design grid that uses the available space optimally. But not only the passenger, but also the transport company benefits from the new responsive website: Changes to the content, for instance, can be made quickly, easily and for all output channels at the same time. As a result, both running costs and maintenance are significantly reduced.

Real-Time UK Zugradar Developments

by David FaithfulDec 18, 2013

Beta HAFAS development of the UK real-time Zugradar (train radar) signals a major step in HaCon's roadmap of innovation for the UK railways.

Our strategic roadmap for the UK railways is beginning to integrate timetable and real-time data, delivering tangible benefits not only to passengers but also to the infrastructure operator (Network Rail), the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and to Freight Operating Companies (FOCs).

By bringing together timetable information and real-time train tracking and positioning data, we can create meaningful user interfaces not only to members of the public, but also to TOC customer service teams, engineering and maintenance workers, train planners and dispatchers, freight logistic operators and customers of FOCs who want to track their freight through a secure FOC portal.

The UK Zugradar is just one of many innovations. HAFAS already tracks all passenger trains across the UK, showing them moving elegantly in real time on an interactive map. It calculates delay minutes in real time, and performs delay prognosis against timetable data for the entire journey. Features such as filtering by TOC, displaying only trains with a user-defined delay, search and jump to a station or a train headcode and a host of other innovative ideas have become synonymous with our HAFAS interfaces.

For the first time in the UK, HaCon is also mapping the latitude and longitude co-ordinates of the thousands of sidings, junctions, signal boxes, goods lines, freight yards, depots and ports to ensure we deliver complete accuracy to our Freight customers who use our vehicle management system HAFAS Smart VMS. And in the future, we will include all infrastructure restrictions and possessions, providing a single point of data visualisation of all track access.

All of our developments are focused on delivering reduced delays, increased capacity and lower costs for the UK railways, and our new UK Zugradar is just the latest demonstration of our commitment to the UK rail industry.

Roll it! TIGER DEMO gets ports on the rails

by Lars DeiterdingNov 04, 2013

Since 2011, HaCon has been in charge of the technical coordination for the TIGER DEMO project. In a consortium of 22 participating partners from all over Europe, we developed and implemented new concepts for optimized hinterland transports for seaports in Germany and Italy. With a total budget of 6 million euros, TIGER DEMO was co-funded by the European Commission and will be successfully completed at the final conference in Genoa on December 13, 2013.   

 

“Boosting Efficiency – Optimising Rail Freight Operations” is the final report video that premiered in October 2013 at Intermodal Europe, the leading event for container transport and logistics across road, rail and sea. The film deals with the activities of iPort, one of the German TIGER DEMO demonstrators, and describes new rail production concepts for optimized hinterland container flows of the German North Sea ports. The main intention of these concepts is to consolidate volumes and compose trains in rail hubs outside the seaports. In pre-sorting containers in the hinterlands, cost- and time-consuming shunting operations within the seaports are reduced and the rail infrastructure is substantially relieved. At the same time, these efforts help to boost efficiency and competitiveness of intermodal traffic compared to pure road transport. Moreover, the seaports significantly increase their container throughput.

The TIGER DEMO concepts are being put into practice in the Nienburg and Bremen rail hubs. Following the initial pilot runs, there is now operation under commercial conditions: Currently, up to 20 trains per week connect the German North Sea ports with the hinterland via the two rail hubs. The results prove that the expectations and objectives of the project have been fully met.   

More about TIGER DEMO...

New Station Boards for Denmark

by Tobias RaddatzOct 15, 2013

User-friendly, web-based and in real time: Since shortly, passengers in Denmark have been enjoying the advantages of HaCon’s new departure boards.

Whether on the platform, at the bus stop, in public facilities or shops – Rejseplanen’s station boards provide travelers with essential information about the next departures of various modes of transport as well as current waiting times. In terms of user friendliness, functionality and looks, the web-based station boards have even more to offer now. All you need is a monitor, an internet connection and the appropriate URL – then select full-screen mode to put the station board into operation.

The contents shown on the boards are freely configurable. For example, users can easily select the modes of transport or individual lines that should be displayed. It is also possible to add several different points of departure to one board, which is particularly useful if the monitor is located between stops or stations. A free text option allows Rejseplanen to provide passengers with additional information. Depending on the time of day, the board automatically switches between day and night modes, making sure the display can always be easily read.

The countdown view provides the ideal display for people on the go: It shows at a glance how many waiting minutes remain until the next departure of a train or bus. Delays are displayed in real time. Moreover, passengers can immediately see disruption messages that have been recorded by means of the HAFAS Information Manager HIM. These ensure that relevant information on all connections is always visible as timely and accurately as possible. The web-based HIM can also be used to define alternative connections – in case of cancellations, the system then automatically shows these options on the station boards.

See station boards sorted by line and a countdown view, respectively: haf.as/dk1 and haf.as/dk2

InformNorden 2013: HaCon in Helsinki

by Stephanie HübeSep 12, 2013

Every year, InformNorden brings together public transport providers from Scandinavia for a vital exchange of experiences. HaCon is among the exclusive number of exhibitors presenting the latest trends in public transport information technology. 

Visitors to our stand can learn about brand-new features and functions in our timetable information system HAFAS that is being used in Norway, Sweden and Denmark for co-modal national and local journey planning. The Nordic countries are particularly important for HaCon as they share a high affinity for new technologies and smartphones - much higher than anywhere else in Europe.
 
For Denmark's Rejseplanen, we are constantly advancing several HAFAS-based apps for smartphones and tablets. In addition, they are also implementing our award-winning vehicle management system: HAFAS Smart VMS gathers real-time data on vehicle locations that can be fed to all output channels for passenger information systems. Travelers in Denmark can easily keep track of any irregularities in operations, for instance by means of a journey planner app installed on their smartphone, and quickly make any alternate plans that may become necessary.
    
To facilitate finding one's way around while travelling, HaCon has developed new features for onboard and indoor navigation that we introduce at InformNorden. These features provide easy access to important details on the journey and support routing on location, for instance in unfamiliar station settings. Integrated in the journey planner, photos, maps and schematic plans serve as "visual anchors" that can be accessed depending on individual needs, either in travel preparation or for a concrete situation. Along these lines... Hyvää matkaa!

HaCon at the IdeenExpo / Expo of Ideas 2013

by Dr. Werner KretschmerSep 03, 2013

342,000 people came to Hannover to witness the "Expo of Ideas" - more visitors than at this year's CeBIT.  

Addressing the lack of professionals in scientific and technical fields, the IdeenExpo aims at inspiring and attracting young people to these kinds of careers. The nine-day event takes place every other year – in 2013, HaCon made its debut: As a member of ZUKUNFTINC., we shared a stand with other Hannover-based market leaders who all seek to recruit new employees in general and highly skilled trainees and interns in particular. Aside from HaCon, seven other renowned companies support the exclusive professional network, such as Bahlsen, KIND Hörgeräte and Sennheiser.

From August 24 to September 1, visitors to the IdeenExpo were able to experience an exceptional combination of learning and fun. At the same time, they had the chance to speak to potential future employers: At our stand, many young people seized the opportunity to inform themselves about career prospects at HaCon and the other ZUKUNFTINC. members. One of our special concerns is to convince female high school graduates of studying in one of the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) that still have a high percentage of male students. On top of it all, school classes and other stand visitors were invited to try the ZUKUNFTINC. picture frame for a photographic souvenir. The HaCon team, too, stroke a pose! 

Read more about ZUKUNFTINC.

Team Challenge 2013

by Peter TalkeAug 27, 2013

HaCon is one of Hannover's most athletic companies!

At the local "Team Challenge" competition in mid-August, no less than 40 HaConians participated in the 4 x 4 kilometer relay race. Runners from all departments demonstrated that reliable connections don’t just work smoothly in the digital world. Ten HaCon relays went to the starting blocks totally motivated and cheered on by enthusiastic fans. Our teams competed on the track in the Georgengarten against a total of 1,500 runners.

Together with Sennheiser, which also sent 40 people to the race (while their workforce is more than twelve times as large), our team had the most participants – which is why each of our athletic colleagues won free tickets to the local GOP Variety Theater. With lots of calories burned, we had a barbecue as the grand finale of the event.

We look forward to next year’s Team Challenge!

See more photographic impressions

HAFAS Live Map goes 3D

by Michael FrankenbergJul 31, 2013

Tracking vehicles in real time on an interactive map has become a popular HAFAS feature that more and more HaCon customers integrate into their journey planners.

Currently, we are visualizing the train traffic for both Munich and Stuttgart S-Bahn, the DB Netz AG, the metronom railway company, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). The real-time service is available for browser-based journey planners and mobile applications for all common operating systems. Further HAFAS customers such as the Rhine/Main Regional Transport Association (RMV) and the Berlin/Brandenburg Transport Association (VBB) are already looking forward to the innovative train tracking feature.

Now our live map enters the third dimension: The new 3D view visualizes the route and shows the vehicle from a bird's eye perspective. Now available for Android version 2.2 and higher and iOS 7.

Our Goal: Perfect Routing from Start to Finish

by Dr. Heike Twele, Coordinator for the HAFAS R&D ProjectsJul 10, 2013

Barrier-freeIndoor navigation, barrier-free routing, intermodality: Many of our pioneering HAFAS features that people use today as part of their daily journey planning were initiated in R&D projects. The barrier-free routing developed during the BAIM project, for example, is now an integral part of the RMV's (Rhine-Main Transport Association) and VBB's (Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association) journey planners and serves as a basis for other HAFAS projects, such as for the Swiss SBB or Västtrafik in Sweden.

We are currently working on three main fields: complete door-to-door information, electromobility and intermodality as well as barrier-free routing in different degrees. In this context, we are collaborating with the RMV, among others, to investigate ways and opportunities to provide ideal travel information for older passengers. In addition to offering them the precise locations of elevators and escalators, this target group requires information on pharmacies, sanitary facilities and doctor's offices as well as on way safety. But whatever the target group: what we ultimately want to develop is "design for all," in other words, systems that are useful to all travelers.

Locating in the train, intermodal offers, the integrated purchase of tickets and indoor routing are topics that will play a significant role in the future. With DIMIS, the latest project that we are working on together with Deutsche Bahn (German Railways), we seek to provide the best way through the train station to get to the connecting bus or to the right place on the platform to find the wagon with your seat reservation. So basically, we work in line with the saying: The way is the destination!

See examples of barrier-free routing powered by HaCon technology

Eurail's Rail Planner App: Europe in Your Pocket

by Dirk EstersJun 12, 2013

Eurail-AppLaunched by the Eurail group, HaCon's latest mobile journey planner provides offline timetable information for international European trains and connections, avoiding expensive roaming costs. 

When accessing a journey planner abroad via the mobile internet, the phone bill can easily skyrocket. In order to save travelers these extra costs while at the same time providing them with up-to-date European timetable information, HaCon developed a new offline app for the Eurail Group: The Rail Planner is available for iPhones and Android-powered smartphones. Over 30,000 rail travelers have already downloaded the HAFAS-based app and benefited from the innovative travel resource that eliminates the need for an internet connection. 

The intelligent HAFAS algorithm compresses all timetable data supplied by the International Union of Railways (UIC) to a size of only 17 MB - this roughly corresponds to the size of four MP3 files. In addition to timetable information, the Rail Planner offers even more features that facilitate traveling in Europe: For instance, detailed maps of major European cities and the inbuilt augmented reality function help to find one's way around at the point of arrival. Also, app users can look up interesting things to know about the respective country and its people.

The new HAFAS app also convinced the editors of railway-technology.com who selected it as one of the best apps for rail passengers, stating that it is "just as useful for family rail holidays and business trips."

Denmark's Rejseplanen starts a pilot project with HAFAS Smart VMS

by Jonas Ask Homaa, Project Leader at RejseplanenApr 25, 2013

As the national timetable information service of Denmark, we from Rejseplanen want to provide travelers with the most exact real-time data possible. There are numerous Danish transport companies that all work with different IT systems in their vehicles. On the one hand, we are interested in a uniform standard that will ensure good quality of data. On the other, we wanted to try mobile devices as an inexpensive way to get real-time data and HAFAS Smart VMS was an obvious choice. The hardware alone represents an enormous economical advantage: a smartphone or tablet is considerably less expensive than the previous on-board equipment.

In one of our test areas, Bornholm, it became really obvious how flexible HAFAS Smart VMS can be. Our Danish island with 41,000 inhabitants is served by a small bus company that is equipped with tablets. There are certain times of the day with only a few passengers, so minivans or even taxis can be used then. In these cases, the tablets can easily be taken along in the corresponding vehicle and thus continue to supply real-time data to guarantee reliable connections on Bornholm. This is a simple way to generate traffic information for rural areas or also on the islands. These kinds of technical solutions make it possible to work with travel guaranties. That means, if there is a delay or cancellation, replacement vehicles can be provided, e.g. taxis.

Parallel to HAFAS Smart VMS, we launched an app to test how the real-time data reach our customers. The improved quality of information resulted in an increase in customer satisfaction. By now over fifty percent of the Danish population owns a smartphone and a Rejseplanen app is installed on almost every other smartphone. We broke the one million download barrier for our apps in November 2012. So it is obvious for us to close the last gap now and provide our customers with the most accurate information throughout their entire trip: from the timetable information at home to connection information while they are traveling.

See Bornholm's HAFAS Live Map!

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