One of the most striking examples of global change is the trend towards urbanization. According to UN estimates, more than 2.5 billion more people around the world will be living in cities by the year 2050. By 2030, two thirds of the world’s population are expected to be city dwellers. One result of this trend is the rapid growth of mega-cities. In addition, towns and cities are expanding and merging.That means more people on the streets, more commuters, more cars, and more congestion. How can cities solve the problems associated with this trend? How will they be able to cope with the additional traffic volumes? “InnoCity”, an infrastructure concept for future urban mobility by ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe and ThyssenKrupp Elevator, provides answers.
Prof. Dr. Hans Ferkel, head of research and development at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, describes the project: “InnoCity is about new approaches to traffic and transportation infrastructures that connect people and buildings. Solutions that can be integrated flexibly, sustainably and aesthetically into urban structures to provide a better quality of life.” InnoCity features innovative concepts, characterized by flexible infrastructures in the form of intricate steel bridges, elevated walkways and cycle highways combined with intelligent and proven passenger transportation systems such as elevators, moving walks and escalators.
“In this project, we are taking our proven passenger transportation solutions to the streets,” says Patrick Bass, head of research at ThyssenKrupp Elevator. “Our technology is used at stations, airports and in many buildings. Wherever people congregate, our products keep things moving. That’s why we are specifically investing in the development of new technologies to raise urban mobility to a new level.” When it comes to meeting the future requirements of modern cities, innovative technologies are taking on increasing importance. Better solutions are needed to make more efficient use of energy as well as faster and more intelligent logistics. Uncompromising safety is also a must.
The InnoCity project addresses the requirements of cities and communities and aims to combine attractive designs with flexibility of integration and short construction times. To meet these requirements, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has developed a new, intricate lightweight steel structure based on bionic optimization processes. The company is applying methods from the auto industry to ensure this solution can be realized at low cost in the future. These approaches and the aesthetic design language used in vehicle construction will now feed into traditional steel construction. “Using a common parts strategy and automated manufacturing processes from the auto industry would make it possible to implement this solution cost-efficiently,” says Dr. Lothar Patberg, head of innovation at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe.
There are a number of interesting applications for the steel structure. In the past, similar structures have frequently been used in overpasses and elevated tracks, for example on suburban rail routes in Hamburg and Berlin. Concrete projects such as the expansion of fast cycle routes in North Rhine-Westphalia and ideas for the “London Bicycle Highways” show that there is increasing demand for innovative infrastructure concepts. Combining these with ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s intelligent transportation systems will allow the creation of integrated solutions for urban passenger transportation.
The solutions developed as part of the InnoCity project will be offered by ThyssenKrupp in the future. “But we need more partners and more people interested in using our technology in real applications,” says Dr. Patberg.