Research revealed that the most northern state of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein, has seen a rapid decline in rail infrastructure in favor of roads. One of the discontinued rail roads runs between the state capitol of Kiel and a small city called Bad Segeberg. As a design context, a short portion of the track was selected that would enable a local transportation link between the small village Gross Rönnau and its closest city.
To fully understand the context, field work and interviews were conducted in order to get a deeper understanding of the historical significance of the track. Interviews with locals revealed just how important the railroad was to the village and how the village had changed without it.
Passengers can enter and exit the vehicle at all times by using the simple gesture of waving, which is recognized by cameras on board, leading to the train halting.
ABACUS is designed specifically for hop on hop off interaction. The open sides and low floor of the vehicle enable maximum accessibility. Two handrails frame the sides of the interior, acting as a medium for new ways of sitting, leaning and holding on while enjoying nature passing by.
In order to achieve a low entry height, all of the technical components were incorporated into the columns at the front and back of the vehicle.
The rails asymmetrically run along one side of the trail, leaving enough space for pedestrians and cyclists. The low speed of the vehicle allows it to drive this closely to the pedestrians and cyclist without posing a hazard.