As a nationwide carrier, NS wants to be in the vanguard of sustainable mobility, with an attractive product. This ambition is a driving force behind innovation and something we focus on together with our staff, sector partners and other stakeholders such as suppliers. We encourage each other to develop new technologies, services and products that will improve the service we provide to passengers. We are introducing innovations both in our existing products, services and processes and in new ones. A few examples of innovations in 2016 are given below.

  • The use of virtual reality in maintenance and training

  • Mobile maintenance teams for ‘Flirt’ type Sprinter trains

  • Preventative maintenance sensors

  • New features in the Journey Planner (online and app) and the NS International app, such as the train radar, train composition and location on the platform

  • Travelling with a mobile phone ticket: purchasing tickets, checking in and scanning using a smartphone

  • Information on disruptions in a striking yellow bar at the bottom of the screens showing train departures at stations

  • First Mini Service Station at Didam station: a unit with toilet, ticket machine, check-in module, journey information and vending machine with confectionary

  • Amsterdam Regional Travel Ticket

  • Modernised information desks

  • First sustainable StationsHuiskamer (Station Living Room) in Baarn

  • Anonymised use of Big Data for journey advice

Innovation fund

NS is encouraging and investing in start-up businesses with smart solutions for mobility in the Netherlands. In 2016, NS organised a Smart Mobility Pitch Event jointly with ANWB (Dutch Automobile and Cyclists’ Association) in Delft. We also organised a matchmaking event with ProRail for 100% sustainable stations. That brought us into contact with promising start-ups in the field of mobility. Pilot projects were carried out with a number of start-ups, such as the winner of the event on not forgetting to check out. Cooperation between NS and start-ups can take the form of a partnership, financing for the start-up or NS acting as a launching customer. NS set up the NS Innovation Fund to let it invest in these start-ups. In total, the NS Innovation Fund has €8 million available. The NS Innovation Fund already invested €3 million in the Mainport Innovation Fund II (MIF II), a cooperative venture involving NS, the Amsterdam Port Authority, KLM, Schiphol and Delft University of Technology. In 2016, MIF II invested in Viriciti, a monitoring platform aimed at increasing the range of electric buses, for example.