Parking safely, booking spaces, ensuring right of way for rescue vehicles

How new mobility services are finding their way on the roads of the world, from Saxony-Anhalt

Services for HGV traffic, technologies for the control of safety and rescue vehicles, services for multi-modal travel: Companies and research institutes in Saxony-Anhalt are guiding the subject of mobility in new directions, bundling aspects such as safety, environmental protection, and efficiency.

In March, the time had finally arrived: The online platform “Park Your Truck” has gone online. Denise Schuster has been working on this for a long time. After 18 years, the founder of the company “Unser Parkplatz” has returned from Bavaria to her home city of Dessau for the implementation of her vision and has opened a branch in the transfer and founders’ centre. The choice of location was no coincidence; in addition to personal reasons, the founder from Dessau was also attracted by the “super selection of top employees”. “We want to solve an enormous problem, which has become more severe”, says Denise Schuster. There is a lack of parking spaces for heavy goods vehicles on the motorways. The managing director knows: “Drivers often need many attempts to find a parking space for the required rest periods.” This not only costs an enormous amount of fuel, because vehicles weighing several tons have to brake and start again, but also decreases the driving time. If this is exceeded, a fine is imposed. This is why trucks are frequently to be found dangerously parked at entrances or exits, on hard shoulders, or in residential areas or business parks close to motorways. The managing director and her team have developed a technology that enables the forwarder to reserve a parking space for the driver. “We need alternative areas for this”, says Denise Schuster. They are searching for these all over Germany. They are interested in acquiring anything that can be a safe parking space: Truckstops, trade fair and coach parking spaces, parking spaces at stadiums, airports, filling stations or even the small service parking space next to a workshop. Around 90 parking areas are now listed with “Park Your Truck”. And there are plans for many more.

Expansion Course in Europe

Denise Schuster sees the target group for her mobility service as being primarily the forwarders, who can reserve the spaces for their drivers very simply. The company has programmed the software itself. Lots of money, know-how and experience, and sound data from polls and surveys have been incorporated. It is simple to use: When a forwarder registers, it is first of all checked. It then receives its access data. With this, it can log in at any time and book a particular parking space for the desired time – almost like booking a hotel room. The driver receives the data via a mobile radio number and activates the parking space, which has been kept free. “We have high safety components built into our software, but keep everything very transparent for drivers, dispatchers and parking space operators”, explains Denise Schuster. The concept is increasingly also convincing top forwarders. This company from Saxony-Anhalt is on an expansion course in Western European countries. “In the next quarters we want to also offer parking spaces abroad”, says Denise Schuster.

Safety for Drivers, Freight and Plans

Years ago, “Bosch” had already taken up the cause of offering truckers and their loads safe parking spaces on their tours. “We now have a somewhat more complex understanding of the term safety”, says Dr. Jan-Philipp Weers, Director of “Bosch Secure Truck Parking”. In addition to the safety of the driver and load, which is ensured by video surveillance and barriers on the park areas, planning certainty is also among the main aspects of the further developed service. What started off in 2014 in Saxony-Anhalt at a truck stop in Hohenwarsleben has developed into a major service. “Apart from truck stops, we also give companies the opportunity to offer their own HGV parking spaces for booking”, explains Dr. Jan-Philipp Weers. With the “Bosch” service, spaces are being drawn upon that would be there anyway – at forwarders, for example – in the framework of a sharing economy approach. This means that new spaces do not have to be built at all.

The system is controlled via an internet platform, upon which the dispatchers reserve the required parking space, the driver is informed via an app. When the HGV drives onto the area, the barriers open, and settlement is cashless and accurate to the minute. With this service, logistics becomes more efficient, the securing of the freight and driver is ensured, and protection of the environment is taken seriously, because no green area has to be asphalted over, emphasises Dr. Philipp Weers.

Sights on Improving Travel Planning

In Saxony-Anhalt, the “ifak” is also occupying itself with the road traffic of the future. The “Institute for Automation and Communication” is carrying out research in many directions in this field and offering practical solutions. For years, “ifak” has for example been bundling mobility and traffic information from Saxony-Anhalt’s roads in a digital service. On the platform “ifc”, current construction sites, diversions, and parking information in the region are summarised. With the ongoing research project “PAMIR”, the institute, which is based in Magdeburg, would also like to make it easier to find parking spaces in urban areas. For this, a sensor is to be used to determine in real time how full parking areas are. The aim of this “parking area occupancy information” is more realistic and reliable travel planning. “This could, among other things, help with the linking of passenger cars with other means of transport, and thus simplify inter-modal transport operations in the changeover processes”, explains Business Unit Manager Professor Hartmut Zadek.

Securing Right of Way for Rescue Vehicles

Together with partners, the “ifak” would also like to make it easier for security and rescue vehicles to drive quickly to the scenes of emergencies in the near future. “Rescuers often do not make swift headway in German cities, although they above all people have to be fast”, says Professor Zadek. “Ifak” employees from the fields of IT, communication technologies, and automation are cooperating with experts on transport and assistance to improve this situation. The system is being tested in Saxony-Anhalt’s capital Magdeburg and in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. The improvement of route planning for rescuers is to be achieved above all with a combination of instruments, including a navigation system especially for emergency vehicles. In parallel with this, the project consortium is working on a programme for traffic lights with which the police and fire brigades can request “green” when in action. “Traffic is being increasingly automated. This will enable the police and fire brigades to be a few tail-lengths ahead of the stream of passenger carson German roads”, says Professor Hartmut Zadek.

Mobility Services are business models of the future. They not only ensure that motorists and professional drivers save time, but also that resources are saved, and that traffic in urban areas is reduced. There is a lot in motion in this field in Saxony-Anhalt.

Author: Manuela Bock