The “renaissance of the city” as a working and living space that has emerged in recent years is currently being discussed and largely welcomed by experts. In this discussion, medium-sized cities and smaller communities in close proximity to large cities, and thus commuter traffic, are often neglected. Local public transport is in some cases perceived to be inadequate, especially outside of rush hours. Operation in conventional public transport is often characterised by a lack of flexibility from a user perspective and by poor cost-effectiveness from an operator perspective.
In this field of conflict, the development of new needs-based and ecologically sustainable mobility concepts is becoming increasingly important, with the participation of the population being of increasing interest. These developments can be understood as an invitation to work together with citizens to develop innovative mobility concepts. This is where the planned project comes in, using the example of the town of Schorndorf in the Stuttgart urban area as an example of the interface between humans and technical innovation as a subject of investigation in the form of a real laboratory.
As part of the collaborative project and in close cooperation with the citizens of the town of Schorndorf, a non-stop, needs-based, innovative operating concept for public transport and a corresponding vehicle design will be developed. The following research questions stand in the foreground:
- What are the requirements for future operating concepts in public transport that, in conjunction with other mobility services (bicycle, car-sharing ...), enable residents to be comfortably mobile?
- What might a user-oriented operating concept in public transport look like?
- How can users become co-designers in the development process and be continuously involved?
- How might an innovative vehicle for use in this operating concept look?
In the Living Lab Schorndorf project, the partners have the following aims:
- We examine the requirements for a future-oriented and needs-based district bus system and which forms of participation are suitable for the early involvement of citizens and other stakeholders.
- We implement a needs-based bus concept that increases the attractiveness of public transport and has the potential to reduce motorised private transport.
- We formulate recommendations on how the results can be transferred to other cities and municipalities and which forms of participation can be used.
In the three-year research project “Living Lab Schorndorf”, citizens are actively involved as co-designers in the development process. Ideas and solutions for the needs-based bus concept are being developed through various workshops and rounds of experimentation, and requirements for a visionary bus concept of the future have been gathered. In a one-year pilot phase, in which the operating concept and the flexible ordering process are tested in real operation, selected citizens assume the role of test users and evaluators of the system. The insights gained from this are integrated into the further development process.