Research & Development

Finding solutions to the challenges of tomorrow's public transport

INIT's Research & Development Topics

Our vision of tomorrow’s mobility is a transport system, which integrates a variety of transport modes and allows effortless use of and change between all these modes. Furthermore, we envision it to work smoothly and sustainably for passengers, and to be operated cost- and resource-efficiently. By participating in various research projects, we are getting closer and closer to that vision and have taken an active role in creating the trends in public transport.

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Current Research Projects


The project KARL (Artificial Intelligence for Work and Learning in the Karlsruhe region) examines the impact of artificial intelligence on the work environment and business organizations. The aim of the project is to design and test human-centered, transparent and learning supportive AI-assisted work and learning systems. INIT will analyze AI-based assistants to support dispatchers.


Transport organizations and local authorities face growing challenges due to the increase in traffic within cities. As part of this project, a tram prototype will be developed for the largely automated goods transport sector. INIT is leading the research into an innovative information and communication platform, which will ensure the secure, reliable and economical transportation of goods using the public transport network.

Mobile Data Fusion

The aim of the research project Mobile Data Fusion is to develop a proper method for analysing the current demand of passengers. In collaboration with several partners, INIT will examine how the fusion of different data sources can support the development of both target-oriented and customer-focused public transport services. Possible sources used may be data from automatic passenger counting systems, WIFI and Bluetooth data, inquiries to information systems, as well as network and meteorological data.


The aim of SDIKA (Secure Digital Identities showcase, Karlsruhe) is to connect people, organizations and processes with secure and cross-application ID solutions. To achieve this, the focus is on digital sovereignty and interoperability so that people and organizations can choose from various options to control their own data. INIT offers specific mobility applications which typically connect the mobility platform regiomove to emerging SDI infrastructure.


The aim of the German-French research project U-THREAT is to increase the safety in subway systems. The project develops concepts and technical solutions to restore the normal operation after interruptions of any kind. Afterwards measures are being developed to increase resilience in the relevant areas of operation, structure and users. These developed innovations from U-THREAT are supposed to ensure that passengers can be transported more reliably and safely in the future.


Voice assistants are already prominent in our living rooms and they increasingly facilitate our daily life. For the economy and its specific requirements, a leading German-made B2B voice assistant platform is expected to emerge from the SPEAKER research project. As the worldwide leader of integrated IT solutions for public transport, INIT will test and demonstrate the SPEAKER platform’s suitability for industry-specific cases.


The use of comprehensive real-time information and an expansion in modes of transport should make public transport more attractive and reduce car usage in urban areas. The name U-hoch-3 stands for u³ and derives from the three alliterative German words “unbeschwert urban unterwegs”, literally meaning enjoying public transport with a peace of mind. INIT contributes to the project by developing precise capacity utilization forecasts for buses and trains, based on its successful automated passenger counting system. In large-scaled tests, this information will be made available for all users to explore changes in mobility patterns.

INIT’s Research & Development team also participates in several events, like conferences and exhibitions, to present its projects and findings to a wider audience.

Completed Projects


In 2012, the intelligent, innovative, integrated Bus Systems project (3iBS) started. Until 2015, a research team worked on developing a new generation of buses adapted to the specificities of European cities. The research objective is to make public transit more attractive for passengers, and more efficient and economical for operators.


aim4it was a research project to develop a public transit system that provides barrier-free access for passengers with special mobility needs. The project started in 2014 and was completed in 2016. Its findings are the basis for the follow-up project INK 2016.


From 2017 to 2018, the project DiMo-FuH pursued the goal of standardizing various communication processes. First, the project team was concerned with the communication between the vehicle and its surroundings, including for example the control center and passenger devices. Second, the researchers drafted a standard for how the entities at a stop communicate with each other and to a third-party system.


In the DiMo-OMP project, running from 2017 to 2018, a framework architecture for an intermodal travel information and booking platform with standardized interfaces was developed. The project team built a comprehensive system of interfaces enabling public transport services to exchange various data. This way, a single app can provide the available travel options, real-time information as well as booking and payment scheme across borders.


The primary focus of the European research project EBSF_2 was to provide evidence that interoperability between different manufacturers' systems can be ensured by means of European standards. The research team focused on the over-the-air interface between the vehicle and the control center and the interfaces within the vehicle. The project started in 2015 and was completed in 2018.


From 2008 to 2013, the project EBSF (European Bus System of the Future) was focused on developing a new generation of urban bus system specifically adapted to European cities. The research team worked on solutions to increase the attractiveness and raise the image of bus systems.


In 2017, several project partners launched regiomove. The project aimed to propel mobility in the whole Mittlerer Oberrhein (Middle Upper Rhine Valley) region in Germany by integrating as many mobility services as possible into a single planning and booking platform. Karlsruhe’s public transport passengers have the opportunity to receive intermodal travel suggestions – by foot, tram, bus, bicycle and car sharing – and to select, reserve and pay their entire ride directly in the regiomove app. The project has been nominated for one of the special prizes of the German Sustainability Award (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis). It was completed in 2020.


The aim of the German-French research project U-THREAT was to increase the safety in subway systems. The project developed concepts and technical solutions to restore the normal operation after interruptions of any kind. Afterwards measures are developed to increase resilience in the relevant areas of operation, structure and users. These developed innovations from U-THREAT ensure that passengers can be transported more reliably and safely in the future.


The aim of iQMobility was to integrate autonomous buses into the public transport network. The project started in 2016 and was completed in 2020. Specifically, an automated public transport system prototype was developed, using city buses at full capacity and in regular service. INIT's part in the project – the integration of autonomous buses into the fleet management system – is demonstrated in this video.


The research project InREAKT, running from 2013 till 2016, pursued the goal of automatically identifying safety-critical situations and emergencies within a public transit system. A comprehensive system of sensors detects incidents and transmits alerts to an event management system in the transit company’s control center.


In partnership with the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) and SG Enable, INIT developed a mobile app to support public transport passengers who are visually handicapped, hearing-impaired or have limited mobility. In the MAVIS app, passengers can plan their trips individually and receive assistance throughout their journey, e.g., through internal and external announcements. Additionally, bus drivers are notified when an impaired rider is waiting or needs assistance boarding.

INK 2016

Within the framework of the Austrian project INK 2016, the findings of the preceding research project aim4it were further on specified. The project started in 2016 and was completed in 2018. The research activities focused on the interfaces between the vehicle and mobile devices of the passengers. Additionally, the project team advanced the implementation of a solution on a Bluetooth basis. 


The MENDEL research project helps to prepare public transport for the introduction of electromobility. It aimed to implement and optimize the planning and operation of electric busses while minimizing the strain on the energy network. New algorithms take into account the special requirements in order to provide cost-efficient charging infrastructure. The project started in 2016 and was finished in 2019.


IP-KOM-ÖV was a research project to develop standardized communication services for public transit based on internet protocols. The research team defined interfaces and architectures that sustainably improve the access to passenger information. The project started in 2010 and was completed in 2014.

Knowledge database

Interested in more details in the area of research and development? Check out our knowledge database for further information.

Research report
electromobility in public transport
Research report
incident management
Research report
barrier-free travel
Press release
InREAKT receives German Mobility Award 2017

July 2017

Research report
interoperability in public transport
Solution Report
12 Features for smoother operations
Research report
Autonomous driving buses
Press release
INIT unveils world first at IT-TRANS: The first ever virtual smartcard revolutionises ticketing

January 2018

Press release
INIT supplies booking platform for the flagship regiomove project

20 February 2018

Intelligent Charging in the Depot
Corporate News
Annual General Meeting confirms growth strategy

16 May 2018


Our experts will answer your questions and give you additional information.


Gunnar Rehbein

Manager Technology
init SE

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