In the EU co-funded project European Bus System of the Future (EBSF), bus manufacturers came together with researchers and mobility experts from all around Europe to develop new types of vehicles and infrastructural measures.
Background & Objectives
The EBSF (European Bus System of the Future), which runs from September 2008 until September 2012, is a wide-scale project co-funded by the European Commission. Along with 47 partners, the project is coordinated by UITP (International Association of Public Transport) and aims to develop a new bus system. The EBSF has the following three key targets :
- Implement an intelligent system by coordinating the relevant information for passengers
- Produce innovative vehicles by improving comfort and accessibility
- Integrate the various European urban scenarios, keeping in mind future mobility trends
The EBSF was co-developed by the five leading bus manufacturers and subsequently tested in seven European cities. In Madrid, Spain and Rouen, France, the first results can already be seen.
Madrid is situated in the centre of Spain and has a population of 6 million people, with suburban municipalities included. On a regular working day, 3 million people commute to school or work. A vast majority still commutes by car, contributing to air pollution and congestion. Thus, public transport plays a key role in convincing car users to switch from car use to a more sustainable mode of transport.
However, public transport is comprised of urban buses, interurban buses, the metro, light rail and the commuter railway, complicating travel from one place to another. Commuters had to be convinced that using public transport is easy, fast and cheap. The solution to the problem lay in providing the passenger with multimodal real time passenger information. Passengers should be able to easily coordinate different modes of transport within the same journey.
The system was tested between May and October 2011. The information offered was improved by providing multimodal, real time, passenger information concerning all kinds of public transport along the corridor. This was available on board the vehicles, at stops and at the suburban interchange stations. Furthermore, information could be obtained by SMS, the internet, Bluetooth and displays, and through the Integrated Public Transport Management Centre. A special focus was thereby placed on enhanced traffic management inside the six suburban interchange stations. To coordinate services across all transport modes and to manage incidents with operators and emergency services in the whole region, the modular AVMS (Automatic Vehicle Monitoring System) was connected to the Integrated Public Transport Management Centre.
In Rouen, France engineers have designed a barrier-free access to facilitate boarding for people with reduced mobility. The prototype bus was taken for a first test drive on the streets of Rouen.
All improvements as well as the new infrastructure make the bus system more attractive and offer an enhanced way of commuting adapted to the needs of passengers. On example of improvement is the closure of the gap between the bus and the dock with the introduction of a retractable step.
The project has already seen great success in implementation of the first two targets. After the testing phases, the results will be evaluated for any potential further application in the future. The main outcomes will be published in a handbook.