Data on new metro lines presented in augmented reality

The Copenhagen Metro uses data display in AR to involve the public in deciding on future metro lines. AR makes it manageable to view a lot of data at the same time.

The people of Copenhagen love their metro, and there’s more of it come. While the final stretch of the M4 line to Sydhavnen will soon be ready for opening, proposals for routes of a possible M5 have been submitted for public consultation.

In order to engage the public and achieve the best basis for decision-making, Copenhagen Metro uses augmented reality to visualize some of the many data that are crucial to the decision.

“The construction of new metro lines requires an overview of the development of the city in relation to future population base, possible alternative modes of transport, capacity scenarios and of course price, climate impact and impact on existing infrastructure. Our employees process an incredible amount of data for different future scenarios, and we would like to have this data presented as clearly as possible to the public,” says Sofie Karen Lindberg, Head of Communications at Copenhagen Metro.

Walking across the city in AR

For the Copenhagen event Culture Night 2022, Copenhagen Metro developed a map of both the existing metro lines and two proposals for the M5. Using an iPad, it is possible to see the entire map at once, move around the city and get close to the individual stations to see data on, for example, expected boardings in 2035 and 2050.

In addition, the map shows different capacity scenarios, so it will be possible to see the load on metro lines with and without the different proposals. Today, it is the stretch between Nørreport and Christianshavn that has the greatest capacity challenges, and in augmented reality it is easy to see how the alternative proposals affect the most congested stretches

AR metro event guests

A good dialogue tool

On Culture Night, the map was used extensively by both visitors and decision-makers. Most people had a good and fun experience, but the intention from Copenhagen Metro is not just to entertain.

“Of course, we experience a certain enthusiasm for seeing the metro map presented in a new way, but most of all the map has been developed as a dialogue tool, because users can see the large amounts of data presented more coherently than if they had to scroll around among the information on a computer screen. It’s a good way to present a lot of the data we already have, and it makes for some good conversations about choices and opt-outs,” says Sofie Karen Lindberg.

Digital and modern

In 2022, it is 20 years since the first driverless trains passed around Copenhagen. Since then, the metro has helped to give public transport a modern and digital expression, and it is only natural that Copenhagen Metro uses AR to present data in a new and alternative way.

“It is in Copenhagen Metro’s DNA to be at the forefront of technology. This applies from our driverless trains to our ticketing systems and our daily lives in the office, so it is only natural that we also test new technological possibilities for presenting data. Here, our collaboration with Virsabi has been strong – it has not just been about developing a map in augmented reality, but about developing a tool to present data that supports our involvement of the public,” says the head of communications.

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