It is the beating heart of HOCHBAHN headquarters, located on the top floor of the high-rise building in Hamburg’s city centre: Information from all bus routes and U-Bahn lines converges here at the HOCHBAHN operations centre. It is one of the most modern operations centres of its kind in Europe, uniting the control centres of the metro, bus and HOCHBAHN guards quite literally under one roof.
From here we can monitor and track the operation and position of all buses and U-Bahn trains on screens at any given time. If disruptions do occur, our employees can respond immediately and, for example, set up diversion routes and inform passengers immediately of the new situation. Route connections are also monitored in the HOCHBAHN operations centre. If necessary, bus drivers are instructed to wait for passengers changing from metro trains and other bus routes.
An intelligent network
For such an extensive and dense bus network as the one in Hamburg to run seamlessly, timetables, clocking, bus routes, vehicles, duty rosters and more all need to be carefully coordinated. All strands in this process come together in our depots in Alsterdorf, Harburg 1, Harburg 2, Hummelsbüttel, Langenfelde and Wandsbek. They are the central hub for all planning and at the same time the point of contact for our workforce of some 3,000 bus drivers. The bus depot is, of course, also “home” for our buses, which are charged or refuelled here, cleaned, maintained and prepared for their next journey out on the road.
Our buses are tracked by satellite
Target data (like route and timetable data) is sent by radio LAN, i.e. a wireless network, from the depots to the computers on board our buses. This means that these computers know the timetable and where the bus is supposed to be. Thanks to satellite positioning, however, it also knows the actual location of the vehicle. With these two items of information it can then calculate whether the bus is running on schedule in line with the timetable, and can provide our bus drivers and the HOCHBAHN operations centre with valuable points of orientation this way.
How the traffic lights turn green for HOCHBAHN buses
But the capabilities of these on-board computers don’t stop there. In some cases they can even influence the changing of traffic lights. Whenever a bus approaches a traffic light intersection that is fitted with the corresponding modern signal technology, the on-board computer automatically sends information to the intersection computer that controls the traffic light system. The traffic light will then change to green as quickly as possible and let the bus pass. In this way, our buses make faster progress – and our passengers reach their destinations faster.