Public transport is at an exciting juncture. As cities and regions look to expand and enhance their public transport services, new technologies are being trialled across Europe to find smart solutions for providing accessible and clean mobility. If public transport is to be established – and maintained – as an effective and widespread alternative to private passenger vehicles, new smart solutions are of fundamental importance.
The system being trialled is characterised by a digitally enabled and integrated system, which is designed to create a reliable and easily accessible service. It operates with two buses (and one in reserve) that travel at 18 km per hour. There is a fixed route of 10 stops, covering a 2.1 km stretch, with a journey time of 20 minutes. The buses navigate using cameras and a three-dimensional map of the route. However, they are still manned by an operator who, with a joystick in hand, is able to take over if something goes wrong. The intention for the longer term is that the buses will run completely without staff. The buses are electric, autonomous and navigate using a range of sensors and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology. Real-time tracking of the buses is available via the ‘Letsholo’ phone app.
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