During a home game of the VfB Stuttgart approximately 50.000 fans make their way to the stadium. Because the Mercedes-Benz Arena is located in the center of the city, a home game offers the challenges megacities are confronted with on a daily basis. Therefore the arena as a ‚‚Innovation Lab‘‘ for the testing of solutions for the arrival and departure of the fans during a big event is very interesting.
On 5 and 6 March 2020, the VfB Mobility Hackathon on this topic took place in the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Around 30 participants worked in parallel for two days on 11 challenges relating to mobility on VfB home match days. The organiser is VfB and the HFT Stuttgart supports the teams as a partner with expert knowledge in mobility research and innovation methods from the hackathon to the implementation of the ideas. Thomas Hitzlsperger, VfB Chairman of the Board, emphasised at the opening ceremony that the aim was to create new mobility solutions or improve existing services. This could then lead to the implementation of future VfB home games and also other sports arenas and cities.
Florian Wörle, HFT student in the master's degree course in Software Technology and participant in the hackathon, was able to get fully involved: "I want to learn new things and of course support my favourite club with my ideas. He worked in the "FanFlex" team on new traffic routes to the stadium. In just two days, his team developed a flexible shuttle system for fans who wanted to travel to the stadium from outside the VVS area.
For the development of their solutions, all teams have repeatedly received short impulses, among others from employees of Daimler AG, Volocopter and the city of Stuttgart. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lutz Gaspers, Vice-Rector of the HFT Stuttgart and Head of the Mobility and Transport Competence Centre, explained how traffic is created and how we can manage it. As part of the jury, Prof. Gaspers assessed the results of the teams from a scientific perspective. During the hackathon the teams were supported by coaches and mobility experts from the HFT Stuttgart. In these roles Ann-Kristin Graumann as innovation manager and Rebecca Heckmann as mobility researcher at the HFT Stuttgart supported the teams with words and deeds. The intensive work units were loosened up by sports elements. The highlight was a motivational speech in the players' cabin, the heart of the arena. At the end of the hackathon, the teams pitched for support from partners to continue their solution. The resulting prototypes are now being further developed with the aim of testing and improving them live at a VfB home game.
Elena Schön, Innovation Manager in the "Innovative Hochschule M4_LAB" project, worked together with Gründermotor, Hatchery and VfB on the methodological and content design of the hackathon. In this role she took over the moderation of the event together with Matthias Schöttler, Innovation Manager at Gründermotor.