Berliners have apparently gotten used to the fact that Deutsche Bahn is using the Südkreuz as a future train station to raise public awareness. On Thursday, passers-by waited patiently at the behest of the federal police until Richard Lutz, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD), Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and his entourage had passed through the building.
In the station, Lutz presented the state-owned company’s latest innovations on the subject of safety. This is a basic requirement for the traffic turnaround: “Only those who feel safe on trains and at stations use the train,” he said. Nobody should have a queasy feeling in train stations, added Wissing.
Deutsche Bahn therefore relies on prevention through technology. Lutz, Wissing and Faeser commissioned a platform edge with an LED strip. It lights up when an S-Bahn arrives and thus warns the passengers. With traffic light colors, it will soon also indicate how full the wagons are.
A call for help app is intended to reduce the feeling of insecurity on half-empty platforms. “SafeNow” has been available for download in app stores since Thursday afternoon. The application offers users of Südkreuz a digital panic button. If something strikes you as odd, you can keep it pressed. If the situation worsens, they trigger an alarm by letting go. [If you want to have all the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]
The information is evaluated in the newly opened security laboratory. In an inconspicuous office in the train station, employees of the Federal Police and Deutsche Bahn use GPS data to locate where the call for help is coming from and send a patrol over. The team also evaluates video recordings so that the security personnel can be targeted at the hot spots in the future.
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Deutsche Bahn and the federal police are each hiring eleven employees for the three-month pilot project in 24-hour operation. A decision will then be made as to whether the call for help app will also be used at other important train stations in major German cities. Artificial intelligence should also recognize dangers in the video recordings – such as abandoned suitcases or people on the track.
However, the human factor is very important when it comes to security, emphasized Lutz. Trainees from DB security should therefore learn social skills in a new cooperation at the station mission, in order to better defuse conflicts with homeless people, for example.