DB alternative Routing Challenge

Utilize your expertise in routing and data collection to discover excellent alternative routes for passengers during disruptions in regular train traffic. These routes must encompass the entirety of public transportation options – buses, trams, metros, and trains – and may extend to include taxis, bikes, or other shared mobility services.

Selected applicants will gain exclusive insights into DB’s international passenger information and access to DB traffic data. Your solution must efficiently identify, prioritize, and communicate alternative routes in a text format (later on needed as JSON). In addition to DB data, leverage openly accessible information, such as weather data, local events, or Points of Interest, to enhance results. A particular focus is on providing alternative routes for mobility-impaired travelers.



There are various reasons for deviations from regular traffic. Passengers need to use alternative routes to their destination.

How do they know how to get there?

Passengers have information sources: Announcements, train screens, customer service personnel in some train stations and of course the internet (DB Navigator App, websites).

Where do those sources get their information from?

The Streckenagent is the master of passenger information at Deutsche Bahn.

What is a Streckenagent?

The Streckenagent is responsible for collecting, condensing and distributing information to the passenger. They receive information from the control center and other elements of the rail system, like train stations. The Streckenagent knows when regular traveller information isn’t accurate anymore.

What does a Streckenagent do?

An important part of their role is informing passengers about their alternative routes if a train line or train station is impacted.

How does a Streckenagent know which alternative routes people can go?

Different rail transport companies currently use varying methods to find alternative routes. Some companies have predetermined alternative routes documented, which they update based on fixed obstacles, such as construction sites. Others rely on the DB Navigator rail app and the expert knowhow.

How does the Streckenagent inform passengers?

The Streckenagent uses software to spread the word. In detail, there is a text box in which the tailored piece of traffic information and alternative routes are put in and send to many outputs. The main outputs are www.bahn.de when planning a route, the DB Navigator App and www.bahn.de/aktuell.



DB Regio AG aims to add a smart routing solution to their software stack to improve the passenger information in case of disruptions. Specifically, the solution shall take DB data and external data into account and create alternative routes in a human-readable text format, later on JSON. An important feature are alternative routes for mobility-impaired travelers.

The aim of the DB Regio Challenge is to identify the best external team (i.e. a startup, company, or a group of experts with the intention of founding a company) with whom DB Regio AG will further develop and implement the alternative route algorithm during the time subsequent to the challenge itself.

The DB Regio Challenge will be organized as a multi-step process (for details see below). On the final day of the challenge, the winning team will be selected by a jury based on a pitch event. During the course of the challenge, all participating teams will discuss their proposals for business cases and the framework of conditions for a further cooperation, so that the additional overarching goal of the challenge is to set the starting point for the further cooperation between DB Regio AG and the winning team based on the previously mutually agreed business case. The conditions for the further cooperation will be stipulated in a separate contract following the challenge.


Selection process

All applications received will be evaluated by DB.

The five teams with the highest ratings will be invited to two concept challenge days taking place on-site in Munich from April 8th (afternoon) to April 10th (lunchtime).

During those days, the participating teams will receive detailed information about the use case, including data. They will be able to delve deeper into certain aspects of the required routing algorithm together with DB Regio experts to develop their draft concept for developing the algorithm. On Wednesday, April 10th, all teams will present their concept for the upcoming work phase, including information about the data streams they are planning to implement. A jury of DB experts will choose the three teams with the highest rating.

In the following two weeks, the three teams will start the work phase on the algorithm using DB data as well as open data streams. This period is completely remote. There will be one mandatory status meeting (remote) each week and obligatory touchpoints (remote) for further exchanges with DB experts.

On April 24th, the teams will present their detailed concepts, first insights on the algorithm, and a visualized mockup of the data stream. The presentation will be part of a workshop format with a jury of DB Regio experts. The winning team will be announced at the end of the pitch event.

The winner will be part of our 100-day proof of concept program starting on June 10th to further develop the routing algorithm in close cooperation with DB Regio and the support of a DB mindbox Startup manager.



During the two challenge days, we expect you the teams to be present on site in Munich in order to facilitate an intensive exchange between the participating teams and the DB specialists.

For the 2-week work phase, remote participation in one online meeting per week and attendance at the final presentation on site in Berlin is mandatory.

The team, who wins the challenge will continue their work in our 100-day program from 10 June.


Financial support

The compensation for the challenge participation is based on fixed amounts:

Each participating team receives a one-off payment of 2000€ for participating in the two challenge days in Munich.

In addition, each participating team can be reimbursed for travel expenses (transportation

expenses, hotel accommodation) of up to 500€ per team for the onsite challenge days upon proof.

Each team that continues to work on the 2 weeks working phase and participates in the final presentation receives a one-time payment of 3000€.


Who can apply?

This challenge is an open contest for startups and small and medium sized companies.


10. Mar. 2024

Application deadline

Last day to apply for the program

08. Apr. 2024

Concept challenge days

2 Days onsite in Munich from 08th - 10th of April

11. Apr. 2024

2 weeks work phase

Remote work phase from 11th - 23rd of April

24. Apr. 2024

Final presentation

Presentation of the final results in Berlin and announcement of the winner

10. Jun. 2024

Start 100 - days PoC program

Kick-off 100 days collaboration with DB experts and DB mindbox