Stadtinfo Köln (City Info Cologne) is a research project
financed by the German Federal Ministry of Research that centres
around the collection of various traffic data to be distributed to
diverse platforms including the Internet, portable devices such as
PDAs and mobile telephones, in-car navigation systems and variable
message signs throughout the city. The project was implemented over a four-year period from 1998 to October 2002 by 15 partners in
co-operation with the city of Cologne at a cost of €16.1


Stadtinfo Köln is a system that continuously collects various pieces of traffic data. The data collected includes: road traffic flows, construction site locations, events, route recommendations, short-term traffic forecasts, travel times between destinations, public transport timetables and fares, cancellations, comparison of travel times and cost for different modes of transport, parking information, parking forecasts, local weather forecasts and carpool services available. The data is stored in Cologne’s traffic control centre and on a dedicated server.


Road traffic data is collected using existing infrastructure with
traffic sensors (inductive loops) measuring the number of vehicles and traffic speeds at a specific location that are linked to Cologne’s traffic light network. Additionally, 245 infrared sensors have been installed on 141 routes throughout the city.


Thirty-seven car parks with a total capacity of around 17,000
spaces are connected to the system. Users can check the availability
of parking spaces at specific car parks as well as short-term parking
space availability forecasts. In addition to that, around 1,000
parking meters are connected to the system, which monitors
availability of spaces as well as possible parking meter defects.

The objective is to provide drivers with accurate and timely
parking information and thus reduce their travel times while
decreasing the number of cars searching for empty parking spaces.

Drivers can also log on to the system to pre-book parking spaces
at car parks of their choice by submitting their number plate details
or an identification number. When the vehicle arrives at the
location, its number plate is read by a camera and checked against a
database of registrations.

In the future this system may be supplemented by on-board
communication devices employing short range transmission technologies
such as Bluetooth to identify a vehicle.


The data is disseminated from the traffic control centre and the
Stadtinfo server to various destinations. The traffic control centre
distributes collective traffic data to a parking guidance system,
variable message signs, videotext, TV, radio and the print media.
Individuals can access specific information through the Internet,
in-car systems, mobile telephones and specially installed traffic
information points throughout Cologne.


19 Variable message signs have been installed in Cologne to inform
road users of traffic situations. The signs show messages that are
automatically generated taking into account both traffic flow
information as well as information about the current parking
situation. Each sign is uniquely configured and shows different
messages according to its location and distance to an incident, such
as a traffic jam or roadworks, and indicates alternative routes as


Stadtinfo Cologne uses simulation models to calculate individual
travel times between destinations on main roads. A user can request
this information and then choose the appropriate mode of transport,
including public transport such as buses and light rail. The system
also provides short-term traffic forecasts on the basis of the data


Stadtinfo Köln is funded by the German Federal Ministry of
Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) at a
total cost of around €16.1 million. The project is broken down
into 15 working areas, which are implemented by 15 partners in
cooperation with the City of Cologne. These partners include ave
GmbH, BMW Group, CAOS GmbH, CarPool GmbH, Dambach GmbH, DLR e.V.,
Ford Research Center, Aachen GmbH, isac, RWTH Aachen, ISB, RWTH
Aachen, Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG (KVB), meteomedia
Deutschland GmbH, PTV AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SfV, University of
Cologne and Siemens AG.