Step Towards Transport Transformation? Mobility Data Law Aims to Facilitate Multimodal Travel

Planning trips across countries and modes of transportation is still very complicated today, despite numerous apps. The new Mobility Data Law aims to change this by facilitating the exchange and networking of data from local bus schedules to e-scooters and charging stations.

The Federal Ministry of Digitalization and Transport (BMDV), according to a report from Tagesspiegel Background (€), has presented the draft for a Mobility Data Law with a slight delay. The idea behind the law is to better connect mobility data. With the law, travel chains are to be linked, and the "patchwork" situation, where users have to use different services, apps, and tickets for different modes of transportation from e-scooters to trains to taxis when traveling from A to B, will be ended.

For example, someone who wants to travel from Munich to Berlin should be able to ride an e-scooter to the train station, take an ICE train from Deutsche Bahn there, and upon arrival at the destination station, be able to cover the last kilometers with Uber or Bolt without having to book and pay for multiple tickets.

"By providing more and better mobility data, multimodal travel and real-time traffic information services will not only be made possible, but also their booking and payment," said Ben Brake, Head of the Digital and Data Policy Department at BMDV, to Tagesspiegel Background.

According to the ministry, the new Mobility Data Law is intended to ensure improved data availability and quality, reduce the hurdles of data use through clear and simple rules for data provision and usage, and enable interoperability across Europe.

The requirement for transport companies, sharing providers, and other market participants to provide data is not fundamentally new. For example, the Mobility Data Ordinance associated with the Passenger Transport Act stipulates that both static and dynamic data must be provided for scheduled and demand-responsive services. Germany is merely implementing an EU requirement. This includes data on the provider's name and contact information, vehicle and route details, as well as information on occupancy or disruptions. Mobility data within the meaning of the law includes all data that must be provided via the National Access Point due to a legal obligation, according to the draft.

"Whoever wants to travel from Munich to Berlin should in the future be able to ride an e-scooter to the train station, take an ICE train from Deutsche Bahn there, and upon arrival at the destination station, be able to cover the last kilometers with Uber or Bolt without having to book and pay for multiple tickets."

However, the draft of the law does not specify how and in what form mobility data should be shared, as rapid changes could occur due to ongoing technological developments, according to BMDV. Instead of specifications, a "federal coordinator" will regulate these issues in the future. This federal coordinator will issue guidelines that define the specifications, standards, requirements, and formats of the data, as well as regulate the cooperation between data owners and data users.

Coordination Center Planned

The coordination of mobility data in the future is already determined: it is to be located at the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which is to be provided with 22 positions for this purpose according to the draft law. The BASt also houses the National Access Point for Mobility Data, as required by the EU.

The task of the Federal Institute will also be, according to Background information, to "encourage and explain to nationally and internationally active data owners of mobility data how data provision works." In addition, the BASt should also receive complaints about the quality and legality of the data. Personal data is excluded from sharing.

To ensure that mobility and transport companies ultimately also provide data, there will be penalties in the future. However, according to the draft, these penalties are "up to 10,000 euros" and are therefore relatively low. The control and supervision of the data will, in turn, be the responsibility of the Federal Office for Logistics and Transport (BALM), which, however, is only allocated four positions for this task. The BALM will then have the task of imposing fines "as a last resort."

According to the media report, the law is expected to come into force at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. After the planned Mobility Budget Tax, the Mobility Data Law is another possible step to simplify the framework conditions for flexible and multimodal mobility and thus make alternatives to private cars more attractive.

Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance writer and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility cosmos. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits and new work. Besides blog content, he also creates marketing materials, taglines and content for websites and case studies.

Planning trips across countries and modes of transportation is still very complicated today, despite numerous apps. The new Mobility Data Law aims to change this by facilitating the exchange and networking of data from local bus schedules to e-scooters and charging stations.

The Federal Ministry of Digitalization and Transport (BMDV), according to a report from Tagesspiegel Background (€), has presented the draft for a Mobility Data Law with a slight delay. The idea behind the law is to better connect mobility data. With the law, travel chains are to be linked, and the "patchwork" situation, where users have to use different services, apps, and tickets for different modes of transportation from e-scooters to trains to taxis when traveling from A to B, will be ended.

For example, someone who wants to travel from Munich to Berlin should be able to ride an e-scooter to the train station, take an ICE train from Deutsche Bahn there, and upon arrival at the destination station, be able to cover the last kilometers with Uber or Bolt without having to book and pay for multiple tickets.

"By providing more and better mobility data, multimodal travel and real-time traffic information services will not only be made possible, but also their booking and payment," said Ben Brake, Head of the Digital and Data Policy Department at BMDV, to Tagesspiegel Background.

According to the ministry, the new Mobility Data Law is intended to ensure improved data availability and quality, reduce the hurdles of data use through clear and simple rules for data provision and usage, and enable interoperability across Europe.

The requirement for transport companies, sharing providers, and other market participants to provide data is not fundamentally new. For example, the Mobility Data Ordinance associated with the Passenger Transport Act stipulates that both static and dynamic data must be provided for scheduled and demand-responsive services. Germany is merely implementing an EU requirement. This includes data on the provider's name and contact information, vehicle and route details, as well as information on occupancy or disruptions. Mobility data within the meaning of the law includes all data that must be provided via the National Access Point due to a legal obligation, according to the draft.

"Whoever wants to travel from Munich to Berlin should in the future be able to ride an e-scooter to the train station, take an ICE train from Deutsche Bahn there, and upon arrival at the destination station, be able to cover the last kilometers with Uber or Bolt without having to book and pay for multiple tickets."

However, the draft of the law does not specify how and in what form mobility data should be shared, as rapid changes could occur due to ongoing technological developments, according to BMDV. Instead of specifications, a "federal coordinator" will regulate these issues in the future. This federal coordinator will issue guidelines that define the specifications, standards, requirements, and formats of the data, as well as regulate the cooperation between data owners and data users.

Coordination Center Planned

The coordination of mobility data in the future is already determined: it is to be located at the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which is to be provided with 22 positions for this purpose according to the draft law. The BASt also houses the National Access Point for Mobility Data, as required by the EU.

The task of the Federal Institute will also be, according to Background information, to "encourage and explain to nationally and internationally active data owners of mobility data how data provision works." In addition, the BASt should also receive complaints about the quality and legality of the data. Personal data is excluded from sharing.

To ensure that mobility and transport companies ultimately also provide data, there will be penalties in the future. However, according to the draft, these penalties are "up to 10,000 euros" and are therefore relatively low. The control and supervision of the data will, in turn, be the responsibility of the Federal Office for Logistics and Transport (BALM), which, however, is only allocated four positions for this task. The BALM will then have the task of imposing fines "as a last resort."

According to the media report, the law is expected to come into force at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025. After the planned Mobility Budget Tax, the Mobility Data Law is another possible step to simplify the framework conditions for flexible and multimodal mobility and thus make alternatives to private cars more attractive.