Title of the Initiative m4guide - mobile multi-modal mobility guide
Year Submitted 2016
Organization Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, Division for EU and International Affai
Geographic Region Western Europe
Country/Region Germany
Name of City/Local Authority Berlin
Project Code


Website of the City/Local Authority
Website of the Initiative http://www.m4guide.de/
How did you learn of the Guangzhou Award?

Abstract of the Initiative
A. Profile of the Initiative
Geographic Region

Western Europe

Name of CountryTerritory


Name of City/Local Authority



Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, Division for EU and International Affai

Title, name and position of person(s) submitting
Basic City Data

Population Size: 3,520,000.00

Population Growth Rate(%): 0.00

Surface Area (km²): 892.00

Population Density (people/km²): 3,838.00

GDP Per Capita (U.S.$): 40,055.00

GINI Index: 0.2900

URL/Webpage of Your City: http://www.m4guide.de/

URL/Webpage of the Initiative:

B. Title and Abstract

For a large integrated initiative, please consider submitting up to three initiatives under the same title. For example, you may wish to submit under 鈥淟ow-Carbon Urban Development for My City鈥� an initiative on public transport, an initiative on energy efficiency in buildings, and an initiative on use of renewable energy.

Title or Tagline of the Initiative

m4guide - mobile multi-modal mobility guide


Start date of the initiative


Tentative End Date of the Initiative (if not yet completed)


Thematic Areas

Abstract/Short description of the innovative initiative being submitted for Award.(150 words max)

The m4guide app for Android was developed as part of the m4guide research project (mobile multi-modal mobility guide). m4guide is a continuous travel information and traffic guidance system for Berlin-Mitte, enabling seamless navigation in public street space including the use of the ÖPNV (local public transport network) and route guidance in buildings. As a result, the opportunities for mobility for the user are increased. The project thus contributes to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Germany in 2009, strengthening possibilities for individuals for social participation in all spheres of life.


A navigation system that meets extensive requirements for the blind and partially sighted is transferable to any other group of people. m4guide is designed as a product for everyone. In order to ensure the continued use of the project outcomes in Berlin, the innovative navigation system will be integrated into the existing "Fahrinfo" navigation system with the participation of the Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment by the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) and the Berliner Verkehrsbetrieben (BVG).

C. Background Information

Describe the legislative or policy framework under which the initiative is taking place, for example, a public policy document at the central or local government level, a policy statement, a covenant, a compact or internationally recognized agreement including, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals, and/or the New Urban Agenda

As part of the "Von Tür zu Tür – eine Mobilitätsinitiative für den Öffentlichen Personenverkehr der Zukunft" ("From door to door – a mobility initiative for the local public transport network of the future”) research initiative, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs placed 4 million euros at the disposal of the m4guide project. The companies involved contributed an additional 1.6 million euros.

D. Summary of the Origins of the Initiative

Describe what sparked the initiative and how the initiative came about and what challenges or issues of sustainable development it is meant to address using the following lead questions as your guide (350 words max)

1. Describe briefly the reason(s) for undertaking the initiative including social, economic, political or cultural challenge(s) or issues confronting the city/region/community. Include where relevant number of people, enterprises or institutions affected.

Approximately 145,000 blind people and 1.2 million partially sighted people live in Germany. In order to get from place to place, they are often reliant on the local public transport (ÖPNV). A continuous navigation system that includes all forms of transportation, with which the blind and visually impaired can get from door to door in an unfamiliar urban environment by foot, with public transport (ÖV) and at stations and citizens’ information offices, has not been successfully implemented thus far.

2. Describe the goals of the initiative in terms of desired change or outcome and timeframe for achieving the change or outcome (for example, change in policy, strategy, business model, technology, means of implementation, financing arrangements, human development and empowerment, measuring and evaluating progress and impact, etc.).

The m4guide app is aimed primarily at approx. 145,000 blind and approx. 1.2 million visually impaired people in Germany. m4guide is however primarily conceived as a product for anyone who is attempting to orientate themselves in an unfamiliar urban context. The first applications will be implemented in Soest and Berlin. An extension to other areas is also planned for the long-term.

3. Describe whether the innovation involves any partnership (public-public, public-private, public-community, etc.) and if yes, who is or was the leading partner(s), the role they each played and whether other parties have benefited or are benefiting from your innovation and how?

As part of the "Von Tür zu Tür – eine Mobilitätsinitiative für den Öffentlichen Personenverkehr der Zukunft" ("From door to door – a mobility initiative for the local public transport network of the future”) research initiative, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs placed 4 million euros at the disposal of the m4guide project. The private companies involved contributed an additional 1.6 million euros.


m4guide was developed under the control of the Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment, together with the Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband (German Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted), the Landkreis Soest (district of Soest) and five other partners from research (Fraunhofer FOKUS), IT (BLIC, IVU, HaCon) and transport companies (RLG, BVG) as well as the Verkehrsverbund (VBB – transport association).

4. Describe the resources used for implementing the initiative, including funding/financing strategy or arrangements and any significant contributions that are not in cash, for example, in human, technical or managerial resources.

With its particular focus on pedestrian navigation for the blind and visually impaired, the m4guide project was enthusiastically supported by the Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband (German Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted) and the Fichtenberg Oberschule Berlin (Fichtenberg Secondary School, Berlin). As such, in cooperation with the target group, requirements catalogues and user profiles were created and function tests conducted.

E. Summary of the Innovative Aspect(s) of the Initiative

Describe the innovation for the initiative using the following lead questions as a guide. (350 words max)

1. Describe whether the initiative should be considered evolutionary or revolutionary. Evolutionary would imply that innovation evolved over time based on lessons learned from experience and that the changes or outcomes are cumulative. Revolutionary would imply something quite new or something that has been borrowed from elsewhere but never been tried before in the sector or context in question and therefore bears a certain degree of risk. If it鈥檚 borrowed from elsewhere, describe what the linkage with the other preceding experiences is.

The project comprehensively uses the possibilities offered by digitalisation: firstly, high-precision photogrammetric survey photographs were produced as part of a street investigation exercise, on which basis extensive vector geo-data was obtained which illustrate the streetscape of the district of Berlin-Mitte in previously unrivalled accuracy and completeness, true to every detail. This data – together with the real-time data on restrictions in the Berlin streetscape provided by the Berlin administration – forms the data basis for the project. Additional real-time timetable data is available for navigation in the local public transport network. These are based on existing travel information systems for local public transport. In the area of tracking (outdoor and indoor), highly topical locating methods, own routing and route guidance components were developed. A complex total architecture of servers and services connects the components with one another. The app developed for Android implements the desired functionalities, thus enabling safe navigation from door to door.

2. Describe where the innovation is being applied, for example, in policy or strategy; planning, design and implementation; business model or financing arrangement; tools and technology; governance and administration; etc.

In 2010, led by heureka Consult with the project partners IVU, VBB and Fraunhofer FIRST, the feasibility study "GALILEO-basiertes verkehrsmittelübergreifendes Ortungs- und Navigationssystem für blinde und stark sehbehinderte Personen in Berlin (3MGuide)" (GALILEO-based comprehensive transportation tracking and navigation system for blind and highly visually impaired people in Berlin (3MGuide)” was implemented by the Senate Department for Urban Development. The m4guide project followed this investigation of outdoor and indoor tracking and route guidance as well as the research project Guide4Blind by the Landkreis Soest, in which a blind-friendly guidance system for local public transport was developed.

3. Describe whether there was or are any obstacles or resistance to the innovation and if so, how were/are they being overcome.

If the concepts, procedures and components developed in the m4guide are implemented in the VBB Fahrinfo app and scaled correspondingly, the mobility of all citizens will be enhanced: the navigation from the front door all the way to the contact’s office at the district office using public transport breaks down barriers against participation in social activities and provides security in everyday life. Personal restrictions with regard to mobility are taken into consideration.


With the preparation of street data from the m4guide project and investigations in other districts, for the first time the state of Berlin is providing a free broadly based data basis across the public streetscape. Building on that, private citizens or start-ups can generate economic added value.

F. Summary of the Desired Change or Outcome and how it is being Measured

Describe how the initiative, and in particular the innovation, is or will be making a qualitative and/or quantitative change and how that change or outcome is being measured. (350 words max)

1. What change(s) or outcome(s) have you already achieved or hope to achieve? Please describe the nature of the change(s) or outcome(s) in, for example, improved quality of life; new levels of social, economic or environmental sustainability, including new attitudes and behavior; improved efficiency, effectiveness, accountability or transparency, etc. Please describe the scale of the change, for example, primarily local, regional, national or global and where possible, please quantify the change(s) or outcome(s) being achieved.

The objective is to develop a consistent transportation navigation system that includes all forms of transportation. This system will help blind and visually impaired people travel from place to place in an unfamiliar urban environment, whether they are on foot, using public transport, at train/bus stations and citizens’ offices. This objective is not an isolated solution; it is the preparation of integration into the FahrInfo information system for the VBBs. Consequently, mobility is strengthened for blind and visually impaired people, as well as all others who require orientation for daily journeys across the whole of Berlin and the surrounding area in Brandenburg. Through a joint solution for the blind and visually impaired, as well as for everyone, the sustainable integration of a specific group of people is supported.

2. What indicators or metrics are you using to assess the change? Describe who is doing the measuring, and who is using the measurements and how.

Throughout the entire project, every step was carefully evaluated parallel to development. With a particular focus on and taking into account the blind and visually impaired, various profiles based on preferences of these groups of people were created, implemented and in turn reviewed by test subjects from the groups of people concerned. As a result, we worked together with the Deutscher Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband and the Fichtenberg Oberschule Berlin.

3. Describe any specific tools or methods that were developed or applied to improve the chances to attain the desired outcome or change, for example, new working methods, new data and information, new incentives or disincentives, new means of communication and knowledge, new technology, etc.

As part of the project, new data models and acquisition rules for a multitude of street objects and traffic areas were developed, which have thus far not been recorded in this way and to this extent in Germany.


Furthermore, the navigation in urban areas with strong shading was supported by the underlying data model of footpaths in order to enable the blind and visually impaired pedestrians to better orientate themselves.


In the absence of satellite navigation systems in indoor spaces, a tracking solution was developed by Fraunhofer FOKUS utilising sensor fusion including Wifi field density, inertial sensors as well as Bluetooth and optical technologies.

4. How does the initiative and its intended changes or outcomes contribute to a new image or reputation for your city or community?

The newly introduced street data for the project will be published freely under Open Data. The high quality and data density will enable start-ups and other technology firms to develop new and innovative geo-technologies for the region.

Furthermore, the accessibility of the city and its local public transport network will be strengthened considerably, since extensive journey information can be retrieved at any time.

G. Describe what you think other cities can learn from our initiative and what your city/community is prepared to do to further that learning.

As part of the project, pioneering work was performed by the Berlin technology provider eagle eye technologies GmbH and a procedure was developed which used a stereoscopic acquisition system to investigate all the street segments. 3D information was derived from this investigation data and all street objects and spaces were recorded with maximum accuracy.


This data basis is not solely intended for use with the m4guide, but is also intended as a municipal data stock provided free to the public. In the future this data can be used again for mobility studies in the area of accessibility. The Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment is also striving to ensure that civil engineering departments receive this data, applying it when planning and implementing streetscape construction work. In this way, data can be maintained long-term and be kept up-to-date.


Furthermore, the location-specific incident data taken from street segments serve to expand the information system for the blind on footpath works and street closures.


Additional uses of the data include areas such as autonomous driving and high-capacity transports, which both have high requirements for street data and street geometrics.


H. Relevance of the Initiative to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Commonly Referred to as the 鈥淪ustainable Development Goals鈥� and to the New Urban Agenda.
Please tick the most appropriate boxes and provide a brief description of the relevance of your initiative in relation to the relevant goal(s). Please also refer to the complete text of the Sustainable Development Goals at:
www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals./Regarding the New Urban Agenda
pleaee refer to the Action Framework for Implementing the New Urban Agenda at:
www.unhabitat.org and http://nua.unhabitat.org/AFINUA19thApr.pdf