Mission to SPACE completed: UITP’s automated vehicles project draws to a close
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
- 5 October 2021
Bus line 549 is a full service line operated by Nobina for the transport administration Stockholm County Council - SL Public Transport Authority (PTA) in Stockholm. It comes every 15 minutes from 6:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and a lighter schedule on weekends. It has four station based stops and follows a fixed route. The shuttle is wheelchair accessible and on its route it encounters mixed traffic on public streets. No end date to the project has been planned so far. The goal is to extend the length of the existing line by 2019, and going from 3 to 6 vehicles. By 2021 another line should be added and an on-demand service will be offered during low traffic hours (if the technology allows it). By 2025 the aim is to only have on-demand vehicles in the entire area.
The main objective of this project is to learn about the first/last mile context in a live environment with public usage. The priority at the moment is to test new possibilities through technology. It started with piloting small buses and then putting them in traffic. Depending on the public usage, the next step is to have these buses serve more and longer routes and to eventually create an on-demand service. It is hoped that it will be possible to use big buses in the future.
The project is financed by Vinnova, Stockholm County Council and Nobina. The transport administration Stockholm County Council (SL) pays €100,000 per month for the line operation (fleet management, host/driver staff on board etc.) to its contractor, Nobina.
For an AV project to be tested, regulations procedures require an application for permit and a host onboard of the AV. If the traffic permit is issued, it is considered as valid in the entire Barkarbystaden city area.
The biggest challenge before the start of the pilot was getting all the necessary permits from road and transport authorities. A common challenge encountered at this stage of development in the autonomy technology are double parked cars on the streets as well as litter obstructing the road.
150 passengers on average have been transported on the line each day (about three per trip) and an average distance of 700km is covered per week at an operational speed of 15km/h. The average speed of the vehicle is currently 15km/h but is expected to rise to 20km/h soon. The vehicle is considered as highly reliable and customers have overall been satisfied with this project. Some comments have however been made about the vehicle not going very fast. Before the start of the pilot there was also some concern on how complicated it would be to use the service but this was addressed by taking a day to explain how it worked to the people who were interested. There haven’t been any accidents but there have been some unexpected stops because of objects obstructing the road.
An associated research on customer behaviour and acceptance is currently ongoing.
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
The SPACE Final Conference will take place on 30 September.
7 words explained
Also known as flocking. A collection of (automated) vehicles that travel together, actively coordinated in formation. Platoons decrease the distances between vehicles using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. Platooning allows many vehicles to accelerate or brake simultaneously.
High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.
Medium density environment with a good public transport system with radial connections to the city center, but lower capillarity and frequencies. This setting includes suburban cities.
Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.
Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.
The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels define the level of vehicle autonomy, or in other words, how much human intervention is still needed for an automated vehicle to operate. Currently, five SAE levels have been defined: Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (hands on): Driver and automatic system share vehicle control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Level 2 (hands off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 3 (eyes off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 4 (mind off): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Level 5 (steering wheel optional): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi.
Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.