Initially, we tried to identify potential access points to improve rail replacement services in Munich. User research indicated that rail replacement worked well enough in cases when it was planned beforehand, but not so much in unprepared situations.
While the public transportation systems suggest alternative routes if a problem arises in downtown Munich, passengers in the suburbs often do not have alternatives other than to wait for an indefinite time. Closing in on the user group of people who are stranded at a train station without any clear option to continue their trip, our group developed the concept of an app to enable group travelling.
The app registers the current location and the destination of each passenger. It then groups people together according to this information, striving to cluster destinations in the same proximity. After organizing a meeting spot, its further features allow the group to collectively organize private transportation.
The app offers different variables to be influenced by users:
How close potential group members should be located (in meters or kilometers)
How close group members’ destination should be located
Which mode of transportation should be used (e.g. taxi, different car sharing companies,..)
The next step would be to integrate the different service providers in the process to enable quick transportation and address the question of financing the trip via the public transportation ticket.
The benefit of this app is the cooperation of different transportation services to enable efficient travelling, not only in cases of emergency, but also in any other case when there are more travelers than means of public transportation.
During our research analysis we discovered the potential to improve the flow of relevant information regarding Rail Replacement or Emergency Bus Services.
As we found out that the arrangement of Emergency Bus Services through the public service providers MVG or DB is reliant on various stakeholders and always takes an inevitable amount of time, we decided to zero in on the stranded customers. Most importantly we identified the immediate need for reorientation towards an alternative route in order to arrive at one’s destination on time.
Our final concept adresses exactly this particular issue. Taking advantage of the omnipresence of smartphones and mobile internet access, we developed a service idea which aims at bringing stranded people with the same travelling direction together through an app, enabling them to find better or less costly options to reach their destinations. For instance while a taxi can seem too expensive to take by oneself, sharing the expenses with two other commuters might just be worth it.
Rail replacement service(SEV) in Munich is an important issue – that is what our team noticed while we were brainstorming about transport services and their contact with customers. So we decided to interview several experts of this sector in order to get information about the inner processes that happens case of a failure of rail traffic.
We got the opportunity to speak to two employees of the MVG as well as one DB employee who are involved in the process of rail replacement service and one taxi driver responsible for the SEV.
We learned how many people are involved in the process and that at all times they try their best to avoid inconvenience of customers.
With the interviews giving us an interesting look behind the scenes, we also wanted to explore the thoughts and expiriences of SEV-users by asking people at frequently used stations in Munich.
Typical negative comments were about the busses being late, bad organization or simply not enough transport vehicles.
Support by the operating staff was generally reviewed as positive. Furthermore we put ourselves in the position of people affected by cancelled trains at several train stations and tried to find the locations where replacement busses would operate in such a case.