Deutsche Bahn Logo

€ 46 BN

Revenue 2017



33.348 km

Railway track length

<1 M

Daily deployed passengers

Deutsche Bahn Cover Photo

Deutsche Bahn

A digital railway for modern Europe

Headquartered in Berlin, Deutsche Bahn is the largest railway operator and infrastructure owner in Europea. The transport giant came into existence in 1994, and carries about two billion passengers each year.

Deutsche Bahn App

Project Mission

To redefine the reliability of railway transportation, by giving railway operators the tools to manage train assets at scale.


Late-running trains causes over 800 million euros in lost annual revenue

In 2017, Deutsche Bahn recorded more than a quarter of trains running behind schedule. The consequences were severe: over 800 million euros in lost annual revenue; delays in the delivery of essential goods and medicines; and perhaps worst of all - a tarnished reputation.

To try and solve this problem, Deutsche Bahn examined its operations from top to bottom. Each department launched an investigation to find out what was going wrong. From a stuck caliper to bad weather to cars missing from trains, the possibilities were many.

Two weeks later, any department that found a fault was asked to return with a diagnosis and a proposed solution. With frustrating regularity, each department would find itself blameless, and point the finger. This put Deutsche Bahn in a bind. Something was causing a delay, and its internal mechanisms for solving the problem were coming up short. If Deutsche Bahn was unable discover the cause, there was no way they could fix it.


By immersing itself in Deutsche Bahn business, Hackerbay discovers 40% of delays stem from Provisioning department

Hackerbay began its collaboration with Deutsche Bahn in November 2017, by getting to know the rail company from the inside out. We next started collecting and analysing the data gathered by the departments, but quickly found this existing data was not enough; we needed to understand the company's organisational structure, in order to find the root cause of the issue.
By doing so, we learned that every successful train trip required the coordination of four distinct departments. First was Provisioning. This department ensured that if for example, an eight-car train was meant to leave at 7:03am, there actually was an eight-car train waiting at the station. Then there was Conducting—they made sure that a crew had been engaged to operate that train. Then came Scheduling, which ensured that no other train was set to occupy the tracks at the same time as the 7:03am. And finally there was Maintenance. They, of course, kept trains functional and conducted necessary inspections.

Deutsche Bahn Solution


Hackerbay IRIS enables staff to pinpoint trains and identify where delays occur

In order to develop solutions that helped existing Deutsche Bahn workers perform better, we developed people-centered software designed to harness the skills of Deutsche Bahn's existing workforce.

This took the form of a mobile app, enabling train data from one train yard to be accessed by other train maintenance depots. The app tracked a train's location, accidents, repairs, and punctuality - down to the second. For the first time, it was possible for everyone in the network to instantly spot when and where each delay occurred. Real-time data augmentation and predictions now enables workers to react quickly and accordingly, instead of having to spend two weeks manually reporting in Excel. Provisioning was conducted with greater reliability, and best of all, more of Deutsche Bahn’s trains ran on time.

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