Stresstests for bicyclists and video tours through Ludwigsburg - How digitization leads to more traffic safety and brings us closer to the past

Second Makeathon in Ludwigsburg. Fraunhofer researchers develop digital ideas for the Weststadt together with citizens, creatives, industry and city administration in a new governance format for smart neighborhood development.

The City of Ludwigsburg participates in the competition »Zukunftsstadt«  sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which encourages municipalities to think about the city of the future. The aim in Ludwigsburg is to further develop the »Weststadt« district and to create a modern mixed-use area where interests of all parties, namely citizens, local industry, employees and the administration, are taken into consideration.

To this end, the so-called »city laboratory« (Stadtlabor) was set up in a former manufacturing hall at Hoferstraße within the framework of the first of the three planned makeathons. It is a creative workspace, in which representatives from development, citizenry, administration, research and industry jointly develop ideas for the future of the urban quarter and implement them prototypically. Both analog materials such as work benches and wooden pallets as well as digital and virtual reality glasses and 360-degree cameras are used. The word Makeathon is a neologism from the English »make« for making and »marathon«. This is an event format in which ideas are developed and implemented prototypically by the participants in a time-limited but intensive process.

During the first makeathon, the design of the city laboratory itself was the target. This time, around 30 participants were involved in designing the future street space  for 15 hours. The creative office Tinkertank, the Ludwigsburg City Administration and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, as well as representatives of the companies MHP and station-i, the retail trade association LUIS and the civic assotiation Weststadt were part of the event.


Stress points in traffic, virtual historical city walks and the sound of Weststadt

Within the framework of the two-day event (5-6 October 2017) the participants formed three interdisciplinary project groups dedicated to different tasks. One group, moderated by Fraunhofer researcher Sven Dübner, used bracelets to transmit biostatic data about the anxiety and stress of bicyclists and pedelec riders who moved around in Weststadt. Thus a heatmap was created that allowed to identify the road sections where the participants felt stressed. Later using camera recordings it was investigated why there is a particularly high stress level in these places.

A second group of participants, in which the Fraunhofer city expert Nora Fanderl was involved, devoted themselves to the possibilities of expanding the city space through digital technologies. For example, a QR code placed at the Westportal allowed with the help of a smartphone to have a 360-degree view of a façade greening at the bicycle parking garage and the surrounding residential buildings. The technology can be used in various ways: By placing QR codes throughout the Weststadt, visitors can be navigated to markets or guided tours of the city can be watched on the display of a mobile phone.

Fraunhofer scientist Constanze Heydkamp developed so-called portals with her project group, which allow visitors and residents to experience their surroundings more intensively. One of the ideas was to install a compass column for the orientation at the west exit of the main railway station. On a display it shows information about interesting places in the chosen direction. A second implemented idea is called "Stadtlabo(h)r" (city ear). This is a seat with installed loudspeakers that look like ears and retranslate the sounds of Weststadt in the past and nowadays. These portals can also be used to refer from the outside to the city laboratory and its function.


The next Makeathon is scheduled to take place in early 2018 and will be dedicated to the urban space.