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European Bus System of the Future 2

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EBSF_2 (European Bus System of the Future 2)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

The European Bus System of the Future 2 (EBSF_2) is an Innovation Action funded by the European Union within the Horizon 2020 programme and coordinated by UITP – the International Association of Public Transport. Coherently with the results of the previous EBSF (2008-2013), EBSF_2 (2015-2018) combined the efforts of 42 European bus stakeholders to optimize the efficiency of urban bus systems, improve the reliability of operations and raise the image of the bus for the users.

EBSF_2 combined experiments with research as it relied on demonstrators, i.e. innovative technologies have been tested on vehicles operating in 12 European bus networks and evaluated through a methodology to assess the soundness of the innovations and their affordability. More specifically, the project consortium has identified six research areas with the highest potential to produce breakthrough changes in the existing bus scenario, namely: Energy Strategy and Auxiliaries, Green Driver Assistance Systems, IT Standards Introduction in Existing Fleet, Vehicle Design (Capacity, Accessibility, Modularity), Intelligent Garage and Predictive Maintenance and Interface between Bus and Urban infrastructure.

The theoretical vision behind the six research areas is that innovation for buses is a multi-comprehensive concept, synergically involving the study of requirements and performance of vehicles, infrastructures and operations by investigating the needs of all the relevant actors involved (passengers, operators, drivers, manufacturers, etc.).
EBSF_2 has completed the development and test of about 30 technological innovations (TI) in 12 urban areas across Europe (Barcelona, Dresden, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Lyons, London, Madrid, Paris area, Paris city, Ravenna, San Sebastian and Stuttgart). The solutions are very different and so are the results achieved, assessed by a technical team independent from the local demonstrators.
For all the TI, the assessment is based on a classical before-vs–after comparison of results, with key performance indicators measuring the performance variations in each case study and cross-case. The definition of an appropriate measurement methodology was necessary to provide the demonstration teams with directions on how to collect the data, so to ensure comparability between the different sites.
Based on the results of the technical evaluation, a financial and economic analysis has been performed by comparing the short term costs of the TI within the project with the long term impacts, and drawing conclusions on the prospective impacts resulting from the adoption of innovative bus solutions.

The last step of the evaluation process has seen the involvement of bus stakeholders external to the consortium and experienced in solutions or strategies which represent an innovation in the bus system domain. The selected stakeholders were willing to investigate the replication of the EBSF_2 innovations in their own bus network and they participated in a transferability exercise which produced a customised roadmap in a form of a tailored action plan to maximize transferability potentials.

The project as a whole has contributed to:
- new product developments, some of them are already commercial products while others are under further development to be implemented on series buses (e.g. new Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning or thermal management systems specifically designed for electric buses).
- introduction of breakthrough innovations in existing bus fleets, like the implementation and operation of on-board bus equipment from multiple suppliers reporting to the same back-office suite, tested for the first time in real operation. This modular architecture approach paves the way for upcoming tenders in terms of IT equipment specifications.
- evolution of IT standards, like the standard protocol for back-office interoperability (TiGR – Telediagnostic for Intelligent Garage in Real-time).
- development of patents and prototypes, like the coupleable gangway system for modular buses with the option to combine various bus segments at bus depots.
- release of the first ever Design Charter for Innovative Electric Buses to use the transition from fuel to electricity as an opportunity to envision a new architecture for revamping the bus experience on its own terms, matching mobility industry trends and the wider social evolution.
The measures developed and tested within the 12 demonstrations are very different, but energy efficiency is behind several of them. In terms of Energy Strategy and Auxiliaries, solutions that can reduce the energy demand in HVAC system on-board e-buses between 15 – 60%, have been successfully tested in different climate and operative conditions. This decrease can be translated in a lower gross energy use per bus and per km between 3 and 17%. Energy efficiency has been also investigated in terms of ecodriving applied to diesel, hybrid and electric buses. Overall, the reduction of the energy consumption differs significantly among the diverse demonstrations, depending on factors related to the execution of driving, contextual factors (e.g. route characteristics) as well as individual factors . Positive results have been also achieved regarding the passenger comfort, with the number of hard accelerations/deceleration reduced by more than 80% thanks to the Green Driver Assistance System tested in Barcelona. As a result of the analsyis, EBSF_2 developed code of practice for the design of the Human-Machine Interface for ecodriving systems.

EBSF_2 has performed the first introduction of standardised IT systems architecture including several types of PT applications (e.g. AVMS, telediagnostic, ecodriving) on existing vehicle fleets in a complex multi-supplier environment. The knowledge gained from the technical implementations performed within EBSF_2 has been shared with CEN/CENELEC standardization groups to support the deployment of standards for onboard plug-and-play IT-systems for public transport.

In terms of accessibility, the project has investigated, both in simulation and in practice, internal vehicle layouts for improved passenger flow and better accessibility for persons with reduced mobility. The 3D-passenger behavioural simulation developed in San Sebastian, has shown that adjusting the bus layout to a specific population can reduce dwell time. The results of the trials show that electrification can have a potentially very positive impact on comfort, safety, accessibility, as well as the users’ perception of the bus system. Electric buses, silent and without local emissions, offer new possibilities to progress towards a bus system more integrated with the city. The project has demonstrated the feasibility and potential of indoor bus stops. With a specific destination (such as a library, a hospital, or a shopping mall) close to the stop, the destination itself can act as a bus stop.

Finally, EBSF_2 demonstrations have explored the definition of new algorithms and tools for predictive maintenance (i.e. new filters and quality sensors for the engine oil), autonomous parking procedures in underground depot and IT systems to manage bus fleets via telediagnostic. Altogether, they represent a significant advance in bus fleet maintenance and garage procedures, reducing maintenance costs, decreasing breakdown occurrence, extending oil and component life and improving information availability and precision.