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Guest Lecture Review: 5 Questions for Sascha Westermann, Hochbahn Hamburg AG

You can really hardly get around the topic of mobility. No matter if in everyday situations or when planning a vacation. The way we get from one place to another on a daily basis is one of the central aspects of our time.  

And so digital transformation processes in urban transport are becoming an increasingly important topic. Sascha Westermann is very familiar with this terrain. He gave an interesting lecture on mobility in Hamburg to our master students. Afterwards, the students had the opportunity to address their questions to Mr. Westermann. This interview gives us an insight into his profession and the special features it has to offer. 

Brand University: Hello Mr. Westermann, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Hamburg Hochbahn GmbH?  

Sascha Westermann: I am in charge of the Project Management Office (PMO) for the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Projects of the City of Hamburg, where the PMO coordinates various ITS projects in the city. We ensure that the ITS Strategy goals are achieved, and suitable projects are initiated. 

This includes technology and innovation monitoring. Knowledge of new technologies and curiosity about what can further develop mobility in the future are therefore part of the self-conception. The ITS PMO is operated by the Hamburger Hochbahn AG, the Public Transport Provider of the City of Hamburg.

In this context, I also care about new ideas like Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Urban Air Mobility. Before this, I was in charge of developing a holistic Intermodal Traffic Management for the port of Hamburg, where the core of the System was initially the intelligent management of the road traffic. A key task was to make the port’s transport infrastructure more intelligent and link them to users. 

BU: What excites you most about your job? 

SW: Networking and all questions of mobility. Listening to and thinking about the needs of mobility today and in the future, which new technologies can help and how, and what cities and mobility will look like in the future. It is tremendously exciting to be able to help shape mobility. 

BU: You presented many interesting future technologies in your lecture. Which project is the most interesting for you personally and why?  

SW: It’s hard to say because there is such a wide variety and different projects. I find everything that has to do with MaaS (Mobility as a Service) and the associated MaaS platforms and apps interesting.

When you travel a lot, you always come across new ideas and things that simply have to be improved.  Of course, everything that has to do with autonomous driving and the way to there, as well as urban air mobility, is also very interesting.

BU: What influence did the Corona pandemic have on your projects? Did it accelerate or hinder certain processes?  

SW: The influence on the projects was not that great. There were minor delays here and there, but essentially everything could be done as planned. The pandemic had and still has more of an impact on mobility and mobility behavior itself. Now, for public transport, for example, it is more a matter of winning back the lost customers and the question of how this can best be achieved. 

BU: What role do brand innovations play for the Hochbahn and urban mobility in general?

SW:  Anything that helps to advance the mobility transition is welcome. We, therefore, look very closely at innovations and check to what extent they can help us. 

We thank Sascha Westermann for his appearance and the time he took for the insightful interview.