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Interview with Dr. Lutz Rittershaus and Peter Lubrich from the Federal Highway Research Institute about the MDM of the future

The MDM is taking a big step forward and will open its offer for multimodal mobility data by 1st December 2019. The MDM will thus become even more attractive as a neutral platform for data exchange and a dialog forum for experts.

Two of the persons responsible talk about this exciting update:
Dr. Lutz Rittershaus and Peter Lubrich from the Federal Highway Research Institute [Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen] (BASt).


The MDM is being expanded. What is this update about?

Lubrich: Up to now, the MDM has been purely focused on road traffic. This sole focus on motor vehicles only covers one part of the mobile world, of course. We therefore want to open up the MDM to all kinds of mobility data, it will be multimodal. Basically, we are continuing what has always been characteristic for the MDM: It moves with the times, is open to innovation and always keeps an eye on the wishes and interests of existing and future users.

Rittershaus: There is also a legal background for the expansion, namely the EU Delegate Regulation, according to which the national access points for traffic data should provide as much mobility data as possible in the future. So not just for the car, but also for public transport, rail and much more. We will fully meet this requirement in future.


What are the innovations?

Rittershaus: The description of the data services is changing completely. Timetable data, for example, are different from real-time traffic data, so they have to be described differently. Take geo-referencing, for example. With the search function, the user is no longer shown a map display, but can explicitly search for geographical names. This is possible thanks to the new standardized description. This makes the search more targeted. Furthermore, a wide variety of data formats and categories can be offered. The MDM becomes more colourful, the data offer more diverse. At the same time, the search functions become more user-friendly and data providers can describe their offers more specifically.


Will users have to adjust to restrictions or upgrade technically? Will data and interfaces be retained?

Rittershaus: Nothing is changing for the users. The data reference remains technically the same as before. Only the descriptions of the data sets, i.e. the metadata, will change to some extend. The MDM team is taking care of the migration of the existing metadata. All existing publications must be described in much more detail. We will take care of that. There is a lot of work for us, but we are happy to do it to relieve the users. There is one more thing I would like to point out: Although users will soon be able to find data offers from other transport operators on the MDM, it will not yet be possible to obtain data from the MDM for all data types. In these cases, the MDM acts as an intermediary to other access sources, for example to external data portals. We thus want to ensure that data offerings that are currently available in other sources are also visible in the MDM.


What positive effects do you hope to achieve for the MDM from these innovations?

Lubrich: We are massively expanding the target group and will become more attractive for users from a variety of industries and fields of application. The MDM provides these new users with a neutral platform that has proven its worth with our existing community.

Rittershaus: The community aspect is actually not to be forgotten. The MDM is unique as a dialog forum relating to all aspects of mobility data. We bring together players from business, research and administration, a great mix that provides valuable networking. In the future, the MDM will be able to play off this double ace, i.e. being a data marketplace and forum for experts, even better.


Finally, let’s take a look at the year 2023 – What will the MDM look like?

Rittershaus: The MDM will be an essential component in a new integrated portal for all data relating to mobility. The new platform will also assume the role as a central data obtaining point for types of data for which this is not yet possible today, such as the requirement to transport large volumes of data with the least delays and the highest level of reliability. In doing so, we rely on very innovative technologies for data exchange. Among other things, this involves decentralized mechanisms. The technological transformation, however, tends to take place behind the scenes. For our existing users, we want to retain the existing routines as far as possible. Whereby in the future not only humans, but also increasingly machines will use the MDM. Machines will search and find data and exchange it among themselves – without human intervention. This will turn the MDM into a truly virtual market.

Lubrich: With the “MDM of the future” we will also increasingly address the topics of data protection and data security. The keyword Big Data for automated or networked driving in particular presents major challenges. Huge amounts of data must be processed in real time. Particularly in the case of vehicle data, there are currently many concerns about data protection. We will address such concerns by continuing to guarantee a high level of data confidentiality.



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