In November 2017, NS opened its innovation studio M-Lab. This is where NS is working on becoming “the leading travel guide for public transport” and developing appropriate innovations for this purpose. Some examples are logging in when on the train to see where the free seats are, or seeing where the chief guard is on the train and asking them a question via the Journey Planner app. M-Lab is the nursery for the NS Journey Planner Xtra where we develop the journey information and communication of the future.
Route information for drivers
As of 2017, drivers can obtain route information from the TimTim (a tablet with information for drivers on routes, infrastructure and rolling stock). The TimTim shows information about the train timetable, temporary speed limits and slippery tracks, for example. The TimTim was voted innovation of the year in an internal poll.
Intelligent Platform Bar
The Intelligent Platform Bar (IPB) is a LED display that lets passengers see where a train will stop and where the doors will be. The display also shows where the entrance is for the quiet coach, first and second class coaches, toilets and wheelchairs and bicycles. The IPB was introduced at Schiphol Airport station in 2017.
NS Innovation Fund
NS is encouraging new entrepreneurs to develop innovative, smart mobility solutions, in part through its investments with the NS Innovation Fund. In 2017 we invested in the Delft start-up Hardt Hyperloop. This is the first company in the Netherlands working on the development of the Hyperloop (transport with pods through a low-pressure tube). Hardt emerged from the winning team at Delft University of Technology that took part in the SpaceX Hyperloop challenge organised by the Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk. In 2017, Hardt took the first steps in the development of Hyperloop technology. NS also invested last year in a company card provider to encourage corporate use of public transport.
NS is also involved in the Mainport Innovation Fund II (MIF). MIF II invested in three start-ups in 2017 – Parcompare, We4Sea and Synple – that fall within the fund focus of NS and its partners KLM, Schiphol Airport, Delft University of Technology and the Port company of Amsterdam. These three start-ups work on parking at airports, optimisation of fuel consumption by ocean-going vessels and optimisation of logistics.