Future of the railroad construction industry 2022 (ZIB)

DB mindbox is excited to announce the upcoming construction batch together with the “Zukunftsinitiative Bahnbau” – for the second time this year already. Our strong partners are DB Netz, DB Bahnbau, Max BöglStrabag, Leonhard Weiss, Spitzke, KAF Falkenhahn, Jaeger Bernburg just to name a few. In addition, this year for the first time, Autobahn GmbH is also participating as a partner – to jointly promote innovations for rail and road.

In 2022, we are focusing on digital and sustainable solutions to fully leverage strengths regarding construction processes along the life cycle and new construction technologies/materials for more efficient work on the sites. In addition, we place a special focus on reducing downtimes of train tracks as well as increasing employer attractiveness of the construction industry.

This 100-day program gives startups the chance to customize and live-test their solution to real challenges that DB, the construction companies and the Autobahn GmbH are facing. What is in for you?

  • Access to DB and construction company experts and data
  • Access to a network of selected coaching and mentoring experts
  • EUR 25,000, no equity taken
  • Coworking Space at our loving office site at Berlin Jannowitzbrücke
  • You will be supported by a dedicated DB mindbox startup manager and will have 24/7 access to our coworking space.


This is a great opportunity to lay the foundation for joint projects and successful long-term collaboration with Deutsche Bahn AG, Europe’s largest mobility and infrastructure provider as well as with leading construction companies and the Autobahn GmbH!


Digital construction site

Of main interest to us are methods to analyze, document and visualize project progress data during planning and construction to get real-time information and forecasts. Optimizing and speeding up workflows in planning and construction phase is crucial to an on-time project realization. Therefore, we are looking for technologies which allow us to improve our project management on the construction site.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Max Lautenschläger
Seamless data flow from planning to construction site​

Our vision is a centralized and real-time digital construction diary. Therefore, digital time tracking and performance tools are of high interest to us. Seamless data flows along the value chain from planning to execution and accounting is crucial in order to realize our vision. ​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Frank Kniestedt
Intelligent machines and material​

We are looking for solutions for loss-free & wireless data transfer from planning tools to construction machines. Also, the integration of AI in this field is relevant. In order to increase transparency of delivery and location of materials, the use of tracking technologies on the construction site will be helpful.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / DB Netz
Preliminary examination of soil condition​

Prior to construction, it is essential to have detailed information on ground conditions. Thus, finding new methods for detection of soil components and existing infrastructure (e.g., cables) is one of our focus areas. If you have a promising approach in the field of information (management) on soil structure/geology we are eager to learn more about it!​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / DB Schenker
Your call!

When considering railway construction, do you have a solution we do not yet dare to think of? Bring it on, we love to test new approaches!​


Sustainable construction

Sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in construction. In particular, the aspect of sustainability should be given more consideration when awarding construction projects, which is why transparent KPIs are the basic prerequisites for this. We are also looking for more sustainable building materials as an alternative to conventional building materials, as well as mobile charging stations for electrically powered construction machinery.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Faruk Hosseini
Comparing the sustainability impact of planning options ​

Do you have a solution to create more awareness, transparency and provide decision-making support in the planning stage of construction sites? We are especially looking for tools to compare different approaches as an add-on to existing plans.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Volker Emersleben
Sustainability KPIs in construction​

In order to validate and quantify the sustainability impact factors, we are looking for innovative analysis approaches for sustainability KPIs regarding raw materials, construction machinery, materials, supply chain, etc. Also, an energy management tool to monitor carbon footprint is of great interest.​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Faruk Hosseini
Innovative building materials​

To build more sustainably, future materials (e.g. carbon, papier-mâché, wood as gravel alternative, stones, sleepers) play a key role as well as the reduction of emissions of construction materials, methods and machinery. Do you have an invention we should consider?​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Christian Bedeschinski
Mobile e-charging infrastructure for construction vehicles​

More and more electric vehicles are also being used on construction sites, but often, in rural areas, there are no charging possibilities. Do you offer innovative mobile E-charging infrastructure solutions? Also of interest for us are tools to digitally map E-station management systems. ​


Employer attractiveness in the construction industry​

Help us increase the employer attractiveness of the rail construction industry! People who work on the construction site, especially those who work on or even in the train tracks, are exposed to special influences. The greatest goal here is, of course, to protect the workers – and that’s exactly why we’re looking for innovative approaches! New incentives for the construction industry should also be created through attractive training possibilities, or through shortened work routes with the help of optimized personnel planning.

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Max Lautenschläger
Innovative safety solutions for construction employees​

Do you offer digital safety warning systems to increase the safety of our construction site staff on/along the track when a train is passing? In addition, offers that facilitate the work are relevant, e.g., exoskeletons, drones, robotics; fine dust filters, UV protection.​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Uwe Miethe
Optimizing staff scheduling for construction sites​

An optimized staff scheduling reduces travel and working time and saves carbon emissions. Do you offer a capacity planning platform for construction staff or something similar? We are curious to learn more!​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Dominic Dupont
Quality of education and training​

We want to enthuse employee loyalty and engagement through motivating education and training. If you can help us to design practical and modern training methods (e.g., gamification approach, VR glasses, videos) apply to our program!​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Oliver Lang
Recruitment of railroad construction workers

Help us to attract more candidates to the railroad construction industry and increase the number of employees. Do you offer a solution for attracting, retaining and qualifying employees? We are happy to learn more about your solution!


Reducing train track downtime

We have a strong desire to reduce our train track downtime during construction, so that our trains can run on the rails again as soon as possible! The focus is placed on new and off-track construction methods as well es capacity-optimized planning, but we are open for more: bring your innovative elements or whatever it takes to improve efficiency of our construction and to reduce train track downtime!

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Markus Kehnen
New construction methods​

Do you offer innovative construction approaches including sensors, virtual safety barriers, robotics, etc.? We are especially looking for solutions in the field of automatic grounding of overhead lines, automation of important construction processes or creating preconditions for the use of prefabricated components.​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Volker Emersleben
Off-track construction​

In order to only close one track during construction work and avoid a full track closure, creative machine technologies could be the key. We think of excavator swing limits (to ensure that they do not swing over into the neighboring track or compact construction equipment (no work in the neighboring track) but are open for more. 3D terrain models for prelimary visualization also could be an approach. ​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Max Lautenschläger
Capacity-optimized planning of train track downtime​

The use of data and AI analysis is helpful for a time-optimized planning. If you offer solutions for downtime construction simulations (e.g. gamification approach) or have a tool to provide detailed information on construction site conditions in advance, e.g., disposal locations, let us know!​

© Deutsche Bahn AG / Oliver Lang
Innovative ideas​

When considering the reduction of downtime during railway construction, do you have a solution we do not yet dare to think of? Bring it on, we love to test new approaches!​



Application Deadline

Last day to apply for the program


Announcement of Candidates

Invitation of selected teams


Selection Day

Pitch your idea on stage to a jury and audience


Start of Program

Start of the 100 day Proof of Concept to develop and test a prototype in cooperation with DB


End of Program (tbc.)

End of 100 day Proof of Concept and presentation of results