Urban Transport Pioneers – hubs for autonomous mobility concepts


The award ceremony for the student designs for mobility hubs for the automated robot vehicles CityBots took place on December 6, 2023.

For 6 weeks, students from the Department of Architecture at TU Darmstadt worked on the concept development of hubs for autonomous mobility concepts. In particular, mobility hubs were designed for the automated robot vehicles CityBots, which are being developed and evaluated as part of the Campus FreeCity funding project.

The special feature of the “Urban transport pioneers” organized by the Department of Design and Building Technology and the Institute of Railway Systems and Railway Technology of TU Darmstadt was the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the concept and idea generation phase. The first three-week phase initially involved using an AI journal to record the process from the initial input into various AI tools to the final idea. In the second three-week phase, drawings of the mobility hub were then created at two different locations, each with their specific traveler needs and urban planning and traffic-related environmental requirements, based on the favored AI design. Firstly, for the Waldstadion site, also known as Deutsche Bank Park, where the CityBots are to be tested from 2024 as part of the Campus FreeCity project. Secondly, for Frankfurt Central Station, which is considered a central transportation hub.

The best student projects were awarded a total of €1500 in prize money as part of an exhibition on the 10th Research Day at the Department of Architecture on the topic of “How can AI help you” on December 6, 2023. The jury, which evaluated the student designs and accompanied the entire conception process in feedback rounds, was made up of interdisciplinary members. Nina Theobald represented the IAD’s “Human-Machine Interaction & Mobility” research group and contributed her user-centered perspective in order to incorporate the needs of travellers into the hub design.

The Campus FreeCity project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), aims to use CityBot vehicles to research solutions to urban transportation challenges on a laboratory scale. Further information can be found at https://www.campusfreecity.de/.