Intermodal Strategy Manager for the transport network in Hessen

ISM Hessen was a German innovation project aiming at the design, realisation and demonstration of an innovative architecture to support management of coordinated, intermodal transport strategies in major metropolitan areas. The development of ISM-Hessen was part of the plans of the Hessian Road Traffic Authority (HLSV) for comprehensive strategic mobility and traffic information management in the Rhine-Main area, around metropolitan Frankfurt. The project was supported in the context of the national WAYflow initiative, to face mobility problems in congested urban areas.

ISM-Hessen provided information exchange and coordinated strategy management involving various mobility actors, including:

  • the Traffic Control Centre Hessen,
  • the city of Frankfurt/Main,
  • the Rhine-Main Public Transport Association (RMV) and
  • the Frankfurt Airport.

WAYflow was one of the five national research projects promoted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the framework of the initiative "Mobility in Metropolitan Areas". The goal of this innovative approach was to create preconditions for a sustainable mobility within congested urban areas.

A main goal of the project was to improve cooperationand communication among the decentralised traffic authorities and departments in the Rhine-Main region. The Integrated Strategy Manager for Hessen supports the planning and on-line operation of new intermodal strategies agreed among the different traffic authorities involved. Several benefits are expected from ISM as a part of the overall regional traffic management:
  • unlike in more common solutions, based on centralised, hierarchical traffic control centres supervising the work of the other connected centres, the decentralised ISM approach avoids the problems with handing over responsibility from the partners (each partner is still responsible for his area and keeps the ability to manage and influence his own measures);
  • the ISM development is system independent and allows each partner to decide how and when to conceive their own automatic Strategy Manager.
  • the ISM architecture is largely based on internet / web communication technology, which is standard, easy to implement and requires very little technical or financial effort from the partners;
  • the amount of data exchanged is small as no bulk data needs to be transferred

HLSV, Hessian Roadand Traffic Authority (DE)

Momatec GmbH (DE)

Softeco Sismat SpA (IT)


AS&P, Albert Speer und Partner (DE)

TSS, Transport Simulation Systems (ES)

The Intermodal Strategy Manager Hessen is based on a distributed, multi-application architecture, designed to be integrated into the system architecture of the Traffic Control Centre Hessen (VZH).

Overall, ISM consists of two interconnected main components: the Online ISM and the Offline ISM. These respectively allow, on-line strategy management and off-line traffic analysis and strategy planning to be performed.

A communication channel between the two components allows continous updating of the on-line strategies as a result of off-line analysis of traffic scenarios and strategy planning.

The global architecture of the ISM Hessen is shown in the figure below. Altogether, the on-line and off-line platforms include the following components:

the Strategy Manager

the ISM Server

the Traffic Management Data Warehouse

the Scenario Analysis System

The Strategy Manager has the goal of performing on-line selection of coordinated traffic control strategies by implementing "negotiations" among the connected control centres. Activation and deactivation of coordinated control strategies (previously agreed upon in the planning phase) may be requested by any of the connected parties. The decision process is built and coordinated on-line by the Strategy Manager, based on requests and answers coming from the different parties. To this end, the SM performs (1) continous traffic analysis within the strategic network, with the aim of checking activation and deactivation conditions for the relevant coordinated strategies, (2) application of a number of decision rules to coordinate the strategy activation / deactivation negotiation process.

Based on standardised European traffic data exchange protocols (the DATEX-Net suite) the ISM Server has the role of managing communication and information exchange within the centres implementing the coordinated strategies.

The Scenario Analysis System works off-line. It is based on the Aimsun2TM microsimulation platform and provides the traffic planner with a number of facilities for setting up mobility scenarios in the area, planning and simulating coordinated strategies (concept and assessment of new strategies, optimisation and support of existing strategies). This allows the traffic planner to adapt and over time to improve the traffic management capability of ISM.

Finally, the Traffic Management Data Warehouse provides the global system repository storing all mobility knowledge related to the strategic area. This may include: the agreed and authorised traffic management strategies, historical traffic and mobility data and information, traffic scenarios and results of their analysis, etc. By means of a management component, the TMDW allows data mining and over time management of all mobility knowledge pertaining to the area.

In WAYflow the authorities responsible for traffic, industry partners and research institutions worked together with the common aim to create suitable organisational structures within a decentralised scheme of co-operation, to develop coordinated, intermodal traffic management strategies and to link and implement these with innovative technology.

The ISM Hessen project developed, demonstrated and evaluated the approach by involving and inter-linking four traffic and transport authorities and their ITC infrastructures in the Frankfurt area:

  • the Traffic Management Centre Hessen;
  • the Urban Traffic Control Centre of the city of Frankfurt/Main;
  • the information platform of RMV, the public transport association of Rhine-Main Region;
  • the traffic information system of Frankfurt Airport (FAG)

Know how - Mobility


Federal Ministry of Education & Research (DE)

Grant agreement
N° ...

Start date
January 2001

27 months

HLSV, Hessian Road and Traffic Authority (DE)
Momatec GmbH (DE)


ISM-Hessen project flyer (EN)