21. July 2020 | Magazine:

App Excursion Through the City Scavenger hunt for public transport facts from the Institute of Transport, Railway Construction and Operation

What is the voltage of the tram overhead line? What type of technical current flows in the overhead contact lines? And which gauge does the railborne traffic in Braunschweig have anyway? These are questions that students have to answer during an excursion organised by the Institute of Transport, Railway Construction and Operation (IVE) at Technische Universität Braunschweig. An excursion during the Corona Pandemic? The IVE makes it possible with a virtual scavenger hunt.

Track crossing at the stop “Ludwigstraße”. Here too, students have to answer a question. Photo credits: IVE/TU Braunschweig

Jan Peter Heemsoth, research assistant at the IVE. BIldocumentation: IVE/TU Braunschweig

Originally, the IVE had planned a tour of Braunschweig to give students an understanding of the contents of the lecture “ÖPNV – Planung von Infrastruktur” and to back up what they had learned with practice. So now a virtual excursion, which is not completely virtual: via app, students are to walk the route on their own or cycle it. “We combine the course content with a nice excursion along the tram from the stadium to the castle,” explains Jan Peter Heemsoth, research assistant at the IVE.

Sophia Giere, student assistant at the IVE. Picture credits: Sophia Giere/TU Braunschweig

At various stations of the approximately three-kilometre-long scavenger hunt, the young engineers must find QR codes and answer numerous questions. Sophia Giere thought these up. The student assistant at IVE also integrated the excursion into the App Actionbound. “I went through all the lectures again and searched for good questions,” she says, “I not only did I enjoy it very much, but it was also very educational for me.” Since Sophia Giere is also taking part in the public transport lecture herself, she has practically planned her own excursion.

Collecting points for correct answers

We start at the bus stop at the Eintracht Stadium, as shown in the start photo. The first QR code is located on a catenary pole of the reversing system. Found and scanned! The first 100 points are now secured. Students can collect points for each QR code and each correct answer. “A small internal ranking is planned,” says Jan Peter Heemsoth. So, quickly answer the question: “What kind of reversing system can you discover here at the stop?”. That’s a bit trickier. Maybe a reversing loop? Correct! And again 100 points! Are there other types of reversing systems in Braunschweig? Hm. The layman starts to speculate and guesses – wrong, unfortunately. But it doesn’t matter: There are fewer points, but a free explanation, which of course we will not reveal here yet.

The app excursion starts at the Eintracht Stadium. Picture credits: IVE/TU Braunschweig

Next stop “Siegfriedstraße”: Again we have to find a QR code first to answer another question. “Which track can you recognise in Siegfriedstraße?” You can choose between: special track, independent track and street-level track. In any case, expert knowledge is required here. But perhaps the right answer can be found by taking a closer look at the track body. In addition, the app gives a hint: “Line 2 is coming off at this intersection and runs along Siegfriedstraße”. Clearly what it is: a street-level track!

At Mühlenpfordstraße a photo shows tracks with small boxes embedded in the ground. “What function do these have?” With multiple choice we are right again.

How is “emil” charged?

During the app excursion, you have to visit a total of nine stations: After the Stadion and Siegfriedstraße stops, Ludwigstraße and Hamburger Straße follow, then Mühlenpfordstraße, Am Wendentor, Hagenmarkt and Rathaus until you reach the castle. Do the organisers of the excursion have a favourite question? Yes! At Hamburger Straße, students have to guess how the electric bus “emil” is charged. And the trickiest one? “That’s certainly a question about the Braunschweig board,” believes Jan Peter Heemsoth. What is it? The students from civil engineering, environmental engineering, transport engineering and industrial engineering who attended the lecture will certainly know. But perhaps also one or two people with an interest in public transport infrastructure. The IVE wants to make the scavenger hunt available to the public as well as the students. If you are stuck on a question, you can skip it and learn something by reading the various information texts. In any case, the app excursion is a suggestion for an interesting excursion through your own city.