We are looking for... 

new ideas and use cases for location based services at train stations. 

Anyone who knows the current whereabouts of their customers, can address them accurately. However, GPS is too inaccurate for positioning. Within buildings, other technologies are required that, in combination with a mobile device, enable a location-specific customer approach. Help us to develop innovative, contextual and location based services at train stations. Use localization technologies (such as beacons, QR codes, and NFC tags) in order to include local points such as train platforms, DB services, restaurants and shops, or other key facilities of a train station. Combine them with relevant information (such as open data and DB data) to provide station users with new real-time services.

We want...

to improve existing services and develop new approaches.

Our goal is to achieve visible improvements for our travelers and visitors at the station quickly and with the least possible effort. The focus is in particular:

services for higher quality of stay 

improved individual travel information 

new value added services

You should take part...

if you like to prove that your ideas  promote travelers’ and shoppers’ experience at our train stations

We offer a peek behind the curtains of our train stations. Therefore, we’ll exclusively open our location infrastructure at Berlin Central Station as well as various programming interfaces (APIs) for DB information and services. You will be supported by DB experts and external coaches because innovative ideas are great, but they must prove to be feasible (proof of concept). Create a team with other creative minds and develop new ideas. Create a first prototype as a mockup, e.g. on the "white label platform" of our cooperation partner Wingu. You do not have to be a developer or know Wingu. Other team members and our coaches will help you develop. Show a mixed jury of DB experts and customer representatives how your service works. The three most promising prototypes will be selected, awarded and, if possible, tested at Berlin Central Station during the second half of 2018.

Your ideas will be rewarded...

because we are eager to facilitate a fair exchange and joint development of innovative ideas.

We offer 

  • travel vouchers (value of a BahnCard 50, 2nd class) for each participant,
  • cash prizes for the three most promising applications and 
  • test options of the award-winning services at Berlin Central Station.

Cash Prizes are:

1st place 3,000€

2nd place 2,000€

3rd place 1,000 €


16.04.2018 - 23.05.2018
Selection of participants
Introduction at the station (start 4.30 p.m.)
Idea generation & feedback (whole day)
Presentation & awards (end at 3 p.m.)
16.06.2018 - 16.06.2018

Questions and Answers

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Is there a plan to continue to real-life usage with one of the participants after a successful pilot?

The three most promising ideas will be selected, awarded and possibly tested in the second half of 2018 at Berlin Central Station. If the pilot was successful in our view, we aim to roll it out to other stations.

If an implementation is planned, is there already a budget planned for that, or will the real-life installation be in the longer run?

At present, no concrete budget for a nationwide implementation is planned, because this can only be decided after a test phase.

Do you already have an indoor wayfinding solution at the station?

We have already dealt with various solutions around the topic of indoor navigation at stations. For this reason, we do not want to focus on pure indoor navigation solutions in this challenge. Much more are Quick Wins wanted, so quickly and with little effort feasible Use Cases for location and context-related services, which directly improve our travelers and visitors at the station.

Are you looking for very concrete use cases and applications, instead of general “information delivery” or “analytics” use cases?

We are looking for concrete use cases. In particular, the focus is on better information for travelers at the right time at the right place, an increase in the quality of stay at the station and new value-added services. We would prefer to focus on the topics of indoor navigation, analytics, couponing and content playback. What we are looking for are quick and easy-to-implement actionable use cases, which directly improve our travelers and visitors at the station.

Is there any possibility to get compensation for travel expenses?

Each participant of the challenge will receive a voucher for a BahnCard 50, 2nd class. Unfortunately, travel expenses can not be reimbursed.

If we get selected, are we allowed to start the development work already before the hackathon/challenge date?

The challenge is to first observe, identify and model the needs of travelers and visitors to the train station in order to gain a better understanding of the problems of the target group and to derive corresponding ideas for possible solutions. Insights gained from this are the starting point for the actual generation of ideas. Through multiple evaluation loops, it is important to optimize the original ideas and adapt them to the needs of the target group. That The first idea will be further developed within the Challenge. For this reason, it does not make sense in our opinion to enter into a technical implementation before the start of the challenge. Nevertheless, we hope that you will deal with the topics of indoor location technologies, existing information / services / POIs at train stations, pain points of travelers and visitors at railway stations, useful interface information, etc., and develop initial approaches.

Can we sign up as a team and work together, or are we mixed or do we need to accommodate other team members?

Both individuals and teams (3-5 people) can sign up together. We want you, like on a hackathon, to present ideas and form teams. If you do not have your own idea, you can join a theme provider. But as a team you can also work on an idea and stay together over the challenge. There is no compulsion to accept other team members.

Further Information...

Information about localization technologies:

  • Around 800 beacons allow precise positioning of the entire Berlin main station via Bluetooth. This enables travelers and station visitors to be provided with location-specific information and services at their point of interest on their mobile device.

  • QR codes and NFC tags are also an alternative to positioning, but they require some activity on the customer’s side: they need to use their smartphones to scan the QR code or hold it near the NFC tag to receive the information.
  • The use of geofencing via GPS (automatic triggering of a function when entering or leaving a GPS-capable device from a defined geographical area) is also possible. However, no precise location determination is given here.

Information on POIs (Point of Interest):

  • There are numerous POIs on five levels, which are of great interest to travelers and visitors at Berlin Central Station.

  • In addition to structural and technical equipment such as platforms, ticket machines, railways and track sections, elevators, escalators, waiting areas, seating and departure boards, services such  as the DB Travel Center, DB Information, DB Lounge, lost-and-found, lockers and toilets are also of great importance.

  • There are various possibilities of connecting mobility at the station in the form of S-Bahn, U-Bahn, bus, tram, taxi, bike and car sharing, long-distance bus and car rental. A parking garage is also connected to the station.

  • Mailboxes, ATMs, pharmacy, bookstores, cafes, bakeries, restaurants, fashion shops, electronics stores, drugstores and services - there's something for everyone at the station. Most businesses are opened on Sundays.

DB Open Data, APIs, Use Cases:

Further information can be found here:

  • All POIs at / around Berlin Central Station can be found at a glance in our app DB Bahnhof live.

  • Further information about the station as well as general products and services are available on our website www.bahnhof.de.

  • The website www.einkaufsbahnhof.de not only provides information about events at the train stations but also offers details on resident shops such as: location, special offers, opening hours and accepted payment methods.

The Winner

1st prize: The team Zugwechsel 1.0 from Civity (Andreas, Jesse, Achim)

Idea: DB and "Bahnhofsmission" offer help for changeovers for travelers. These services are very popular. At Berlin Hauptbahnhof alone, about 130 travelers use the services daily. However, the booking process is often not consistent for travelers and the processing of the data between the helpers is also not perfect. The presented solution: central data storage, networked and localized terminals

2nd prize: The team Bahnhof Live Go from the DAI Labor of TU Berlin (Marcus, Izgh)

Idea: Development of various gamification offers (like "Pokémon Go") to interact with travelers when they are waiting for a connection. Possiblity to inform them about the railway station / technology / offers etc. or make travelers participate in the station improvement (sending pictures of litter, graffities, etc.).

3rd prize: A mixed team Fast Lane from UBILAbs, Teleconica, a freelancer, Strato (Andrea, Lukasz, Magdalena, Robert)

Idea: Provision of travel specific information (time unti arrival of train / connection), location secific offer of gifts, snacks or coffee. Showing actual time to get service by calculation of walking time to the shop and waiting within a queue. Offering a preorder option with online payment as well as a indoor navigation to the shop. 

Find impressions and pictures of the DB Challenge executed under order and in cooperation with DB Station & Service. All pictures (c) Deutsche Bahn, photographer Max Power