March 10, 2023

Auto 5: Mobility Super-app Disruption

How better data based on data sharing in a dataspace with data sovereignty protection can create the data chains required for a novel mobility super-app to speed up travel and reduce CO2 emissions.

The problem: Bad data
Climate change requires innovation to reduce the CO2 emissions caused by mobility. We would also like to get faster from A to B, particularly in cities, where trips are ever longer and expensive (for details and metrics, see Schlueter Langdon 2021a). Faster trips require more seamless travel chains, which in turn need data chains for better connections across different modes of transportation and companies.

The solution: Better data with a dataspace
The Telekom Data Intelligence Hub team of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems B2B software devision (link) combined two innovations: (1) a software agent system together with (2) a dataspace to enable a novel super-app, which supports modal shift, i.e., the shift of trips using a personal car to intermodal travel involving the integration of public transport with micromobility, such as electric scooters and shuttles. Such mobility chains have been inhibited by the absence of corresponding data chains or cross-organizational data sharing due to a lack of data sovereignty protection. Figure 1 illustrates our solution of a super-app for planning end-to-end A to B intermodal trips “powered by a dataspace” that provides the necessary data chains (link). It enables the evolution from a hodgepodge of apps on a user’s phone with a myriad of repetitive, time-consuming do-it-yourself trip orchestration steps (app fragmentation on the left of Figure 1) to an all-in-one, one-stop-planning and shopping experience. These data chains include A to B availability of vehicles, such as electric scooters, or seats on a bus or shuttle, as well as a user’s memberships and discounts with all involved providers. Our RealLabHH dataspace utilizes first generation International Data Space (IDS, link) technology that complies with DIN Spec 27070.

Better performance and experience
How does it work from a customer’s perspective? Figure 2 depicts user interfaces (UIs) and the underlying system architecture (link). To initiate a trip a user starts in the digital twin UI to enter starting point A and destination B as well as perferred starting or arrival time. While the system is calculating route options the UI is switched to a more traditional map view with a widget hovering over it to provide three recommendations either based on a user’s travel history or speed-cost-comfort settings in the digital twin.

Real world test
This project was realized as part of the Reallabor Hamburg project (RealLabHH) as a lab of the German Federal Government’s National Platform for Mobility (NPM) with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. This demonstrator app with dataspace was tested with live data from mobility providers in RealLabHH, including Hamburger Hochbahn AG, Sixt, and Tier Mobility, and at the launch of the system by visitors to the ITS World Congress in Hamburg. The result of better data? Better mobility with 30% faster travel speeds and less CO2 emissions. In 2022, RealLabHH was awarded the “Real Laboratory Innovation Prize” by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (link).

Lessons learned from this pioneering project

  • What: Official RealLab Hamburg report (mobility super-app chapter), link (RealLabHH 2022)
  • Better performance: Faster travel, easier to use, link (Schlueter Langdon et al. 2021)
  • How: Customer journeys and system architecture, link (Schlueter Langdon & Eckert 2022)
  • Business model shift: Selling public transport by the seat, link (Schlueter Langdon 2021b)

Our “Auto” miniseries
This piece is the fifth instalment of our “Auto” series. Previous episodes include:

  • Auto 1: Digital Service Shift and 7 Gaps (link)
  • Auto 2: Power Shift to Data (link)
  • Auto 3: One Future of Auto is Airlines (link)
  • Auto 4: Auto versus Mobility … Box vs Triangle (link)


RealLabHH. 2022. Wir verändern Mobilität – Erkenntnisse des Reallabors Hamburg für eine digitale Mobilität von morgen. Abschlussbericht (2022-04), RealLab Hamburg, Hamburg (super-app chapter only: link)

Schlueter Langdon, C. 2021a. Stuck in traffic: How bad is it … do we age faster … how can we fix it? Telekom Data Intelligence Hub Blog Story, T-Systems, Frankfurt, link

Schlueter Langdon, C. 2021b. Dataspace Enabled Mobility. In: Mertens, C., et al. (eds.). Data Move People. Anthology (version 1.0, October), International Data Spaces Association, Berlin, Germany: 27-41, link

Schlueter Langdon, C. and Eckert, J. 2022. Intermodal travel super app with agent system and data space: RealLab Hamburg implementation. Scientific Paper ID 1225984, 28th ITS World Congress, Los Angeles, link

Schlueter Langdon, C., N. Oehrlein, and D. Kerinnis. 2021. Integrated Public Transport: Quantifying user benefits – Example of Hamburg. Technical Paper ID 438, 27th ITS World Congress, Hamburg, link