Customer and quality


Targets and management approach

Our digital strategy is designed to develop an ultra-­­smart mobility network by 2030 – networked, automated and customer-­­oriented. People and goods should move more easily and seamlessly than ever before. Journeys should practically plan themselves and be adapted to the current situation in real time. A strong rail system is our goal, and we are becoming digital to achieve it. These digitalization processes need to be understood and designed as a smart overall system – a long-­­term development in which we can define the three core activities of the Strong Rail strategy: full networking, self-­­organized development and simpler use of mobility services for customers.

In three strategic areas digitalization is the key to success for the Strong Rail strategy:

  • Digital rail operations make us more robust, for example by using automated schedule planning and scheduling.
  • Digital maintenance is making us more powerful, for example by using real-­­time transparency and more forward-­­looking planning.
  • And the digital customer experience makes us more modern, for example by using more efficient travel chains and more intuitive booking options.

In the future, all of these initiatives will help steadily increase capacity, efficiency and quality over the long term.

Working and corporate cultures play a crucial role in all of these changes. Implementing the digital strategy requires a culture that supports ideas and plans for a new working environment and inspires enthusiasm for new technologies and new forms of working (together). We aim to build an ultra-­­smart network culture.

The information technology (IT) infrastructure lays essential groundwork to develop digitalization over the next few years. The digital infrastructure concept for a strong rail sys­tem comprises five components: connectivity, cloud services, cyber security, development platforms and data management. These five areas have different levels of maturity and priorities.

Connectivity is the most basic requirement for data transfer and exchange because a strong rail system needs high-­speed communication. Cloud services help provide dynamic, scalable and on-­­demand IT services because a strong rail system needs resilient IT resources. Cybersecurity will also continue to be professionalized in the future because only a secure rail system is a strong rail system. Cybersecurity means: comprehensive protection of all digital assets, systems, data and processes. Our development platforms offer modular services to help speed up the development of software. The objective within data management is to provide tools and standards for the general use of all data within the Group.

The digital strategy for a strong rail system aims to achieve long-­­term, sustainable development, following a vision that makes a crucial contribution to shaping the future of mobility. The target to achieve by 2030 is to have trained mobility systems to detect, calculate and network automatically and to keep everything permanently up to date. AI determines the pace of this by facilitating new ways of managing capacity, eliminating barriers and satisfying personal requirements before they are even identified and expressed. The vehicles feature highly automated driving functions, communicate with one another and automatically keep themselves updated using new sensors, drones and robots. And all employees in this new mobility network can enjoy a working culture that allows them to cooperate freely. The division of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is responsible for digitalization at Group level. In the year under review, the division implemented digital initiatives, created adaptable structures and supported the digital revolution:

  • We created the DB Digital Base in Berlin, a central location for digitalization within DB Group. This is where executives and employees have access to a wide range of events on digital topics free of charge. These topics include digitalization, new ways of working and promoting collaboration within DB Group.
  • With the start-­­up program DB Intrapreneurs, we are promoting entrepreneurial thinking and actions within DB Group. We upskilled over 500 employees in the year under review with three pitch days, each with four Intrapreneurship teams working on their own business model.
  • We are also supporting our digital trainees as part of the digital trainee program. Ten digital trainees started the program in the year under review.
  • The Digitalization Competence Center is a crucial organi­zation bringing together those responsible for digitalization from Group management and business units. The digital innovation funnel format is used to draw on current trends to jointly create digital projects and innovations across business units.
  • Digital transformation: For us, the term digital transformation means creating the necessary conditions in DB Group. The focus is primarily on bringing in executives and employees and giving them the skills they need through training, new working methods and agile structures.
  • The New Digital Business division handles new digital business models, as part of which it examines other influential markets, such as China. The division explores disruptive technologies and uses feasibility studies to check their suitability for DB Group (for example air taxis).


Mobility analyses conducted by the Swiss start-­­up showed con­siderable potential for a customer-­­oriented expansion of our services. Using mobile network data in line with data protection laws, Teralytics provides reliable information on general transport
behavior, which can then be used to analyze traveler demand. The aim is to use the analyses from Teralytics to increase capac­-ities specifically where they are needed the most.

We have further professionalized our cooperation with start-­­ups, especially through beyond1435, our open innovation platform. Together with our partners, we aim to identify new technologies and evaluate them for our own business development. Together with start-­­ups, we aim to develop and scale disruptive business models using the innovation platform. In the year under review, NEXUS events were held every quarter on specific topics, providing a framework for joint business development among partners.

  • DB mindbox is a coworking space and a central location where DB employees can exchange knowledge and co­operate with start-­­ups. The central funding program, DB StartupXpress, identifies promising start-­­ups and tests their ideas together with DB Group’s business units. The start-­­ups should be able to implement their digital solutions quickly in cooperation with the business units. Since 2015, well over 1,000 start-­­ups from about 30 countries have applied for the DB mindbox program. With more than 30 start-­­ups, we are now working on concrete improvements to the integrated rail system.
  • Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures (DB DV) is the corporate venture capital arm of DB Group and invests in new, innovative digital business ideas. In addition to fo­cus­­ing on technology such as big data, AI and the Internet of Things, the main focus is on the power of start-­­ups and technology partners to dis­­rupt markets and their ability to establish for­ward-­­looking customer solutions in the three areas of mobility, logistics and smart cities. Investments are made worldwide, focusing on Eu­ro­­pe, the United States and Israel. In the year under review, the portfolio increased by two more investments with Skyports and TeralyticsSkyports collaborates with manufacturers of air taxis worldwide to design and build vertiports. Through this cooperation, Skyports wants to help create safe and efficient air operations in urban environments. In addition, Skyports is developing and operating end-­­to-­­end heavy-­­lift drones for deliveries in medicine and logistics to overcome inefficiencies of traditional transport routes.

Hello! Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Integrated Report!

I am Larissa, your interactive assistant. I am happy to help you and guide you through the report.

May I suggest some interesting contents:

Reading recommendation