Focus on digitalization and technology


Our digital and technical strategy is designed to develop an ultra-smart mobility network by 2030 – connected, automated and customer-oriented.

 In the future, travel should essentially “plan itself” and adapt to changing circumstances in real time in the event of deviations. To this end, our digitalization processes must be understood and designed as an intelligent overall system – a long-term development, with three core tasks under the Strong Rail strategy:

  • fully connected,
  • self-organized development, and
  • making it easier for customers to use mobility services.

The use cases show where digitalization and technology are the key to success for the Strong Rail strategy. We will focus in particular on some of these:

  • Digital rail operations, because it makes us more robust, for example, thanks to automated timetables and scheduling.
  • Digital maintenance, because it makes us more effective, for example, through more efficient materials management and more powerful forward-looking planning.
  • Green rail technology, because it makes us more environmentally friendly, for example, through our emissions-free and environmentally friendly rail operations.

Ecosystems and partnerships

Digitalization and global competition are fundamentally changing market conditions. Due to much shorter innovation cycles, new markets are created faster, and there is growing pressure on established market players to innovate. We need to transform into an ecosystem-focused company so that we can tap into growth potential in this area and ensure DB Group stays competitive in the long-term. DB Group is therefore using partnerships to drive greater innovation and is systematically expanding collaboration. The innovative power and expertise of partners will be more easily usable thanks to integration into DB Group’s added value chain. In line with the Strong Rail strategy, the current focus is on the areas of production and sustainability:

Digital transformation

The digital transformation is focused on the inclusion and qualification of employees through training, new working methods and agile structures. In 2022, the focus was on ex­pand­ing digital skills.

Digital Rail for Germany

Digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence are the key to higher capacity and optimal utilization of the rail network. One of the targets of Digital Rail Germany (DSD) is a fully digital, highly automated rail system – from tracks to trains, from digital signaling stations through the European Train Control System (ETCS) to automatic train operation (ATO). In the future, the trains will be highly automated, able to recognize their environment and be located at a highly precise geographical location. Likewise, they should no longer run at fixed block distances, but instead in flexible blocks with optimal intervals between trains. In order to meet these requirements, the entire rail sector needs innovative thinking, design and implemen­tation. Together with industry partners, associations and research institutes, the sector initiative Digital Rail Germany (DSD) is setting the course for the highly automated rail system of the future.

The implementation of the DSD initiative started in 2020. As part of the launch package, the concrete planning and installation of ETCS and digital interlockings has begun in the context of the Stuttgart Digital Hub (Digitaler Knoten Stuttgart; DKS), the Cologne — Rhine/Main high-speed line and the ability to traverse the Trans-European Scandinavia — Mediterranean corridor (ScanMed). Stuttgart will be the first region in Germany to receive the digital train control and interlocking technology. In order to support the corresponding refitting of vehicles, the BMDV has published a vehicle funding directive for the affected vehicles in the DKS, meaning that the vehicle equipment (regional and S-Bahn (metro) multiple units) could begin in 2022. In 2022, the first commissions also took place in the fast-track program (SLP). For example, on the Ruhr-Sieg line, the switching and signaling technology was completely renewed after just 1.5 years. The work on the fast-track program’s Cluster 2 projects and pre-series projects is progressing simultaneously. These projects are intended to create modern digital interlockings. To this end, comprehensive development services will also be performed with new market participants from the railway and technology sectors.

Information security

Information security is a priority given an increasingly interconnected global environment and the rapid progress of digitalization. It is essential that companies identify risks in good time, establish countermeasures early on, and react quickly and decisively to incidents. Our ultimate goal is to protect information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) infrastructure on a sustainable basis. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is responsible for information security in DB Group. The CISO reports to DB Group’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and to the Management Board. This ensures that senior executives are aware of these topics. Key responsibilities are to further develop information security in DB Group and develop a permanent information security culture. This includes establishing future-oriented processes, measures and solutions based on internationally recognized, workable standards that apply equally to new and existing IT/OT projects. All suppliers who work with us must also guarantee firmly defined safety requirements. This applies to collaboration with major cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, as well as small and medium-sized suppliers and all sup­pliers in the Digital Rail for Germany environment. Due to the high momentum around the topic and the rapidly advancing technological development, the information security division works closely with universities to promote research and next-generation training. National and international networking is another of the division’s core tasks, especially in European rail transport. An example of this is the collaboration with the French state-owned railway SNCF, TU Darmstadt and TU Berlin.

Sustainability indices

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