Sustainable water travel widens accessibility

Business Impact: sustainable water travel widens accessibility
Business Impact: sustainable water travel widens accessibility

The use of environmentally friendly ferries would widen accessibility and diversify commuters’ options in Berlin and Potsdam, according to the results of a new student project led by Gisma Business School. However, journey-time savings for water travel remain a challenge.

The project has been looking specifically at linking Berlin’s southwestern suburb of Wannsee with Jungfernsee in Potsdam by solar-powered ferry. As well as being home to Gisma’s Potsdam campus, Jungfernsee is also the location of a global innovation centre belonging to German software multinational SAP. As such, a key element of the project is how public transport can better serve an increased volume of people requiring access to the Jungfernsee area.

“The first study [in the project] has shown that the accessibility of the Jungfernsee campus could be improved and diversified through the establishment of new passenger ferry connections,” said Peter Konhäusner, who is heading up the project for Gisma and is professor for digital entrepreneurship at the school.

A prototype of the ferry has already been developed. This allows up to 35 passengers to travel across the route in just 10 minutes – faster than existing public transportation routes. Yet, competing with car travel on journey time remains a challenge.

“The study also comes to the conclusion that many of the conceivable low-speed ferry connections will, in all probability, not be associated with significant travel time savings,” added Konhäusner. The recommendation is that the project’s first study is extended.

The project, launched in October 2022, is a collaboration between Gisma, SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences and real estate company Engel & Völkers. It has therefore allowed students from both Gisma and SRH Berlin to come together and work in groups on the project’s goals, as well as to network.

This article originally appeared in the print edition (Issue 2 2023) of Business Impact, magazine of the Business Graduates Association (BGA).

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