Skip to main content

European Bus System of the Future 2

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EBSF_2 (European Bus System of the Future 2)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-10-31

EBSF 2 – the European Bus System of the Future 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. The project (2015-2018), coherently with the results of the previous EBSF (2008-2013), combines the efforts of 42 partners to optimize the efficiency of bus systems, by impacting mainly energy consumption and operational costs, as well as to raise the image of the bus for passengers.

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.

For each of them, EBSF_2 is committed to complete the development and test a set of technological solutions to evaluate to which extent such innovations can contribute to make bus systems more attractive and efficient. 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 (i.e. passengers, operators, drivers, manufacturers, decision makers, etc., all equally considered).

EBSF_2 is based on demonstrators, i.e. the innovative technological solutions are tested in urban environments. Demonstrators take place in several urban areas across Europe: Barcelona, Dresden, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Lyons, London, Madrid, Paris area, Paris city, Ravenna, San Sebastian and Stuttgart.
The objective of any innovative measure under test and those in hand is to have a “life after”. The innovative measures being tested in real-world demonstrators are selected according to their technological maturity. This ensures a short delay before commercialisation following the end of the project. Many of these measures are also being tested within controlled environments (using simulators and prototypes). This is either as a preliminary step for future validation in real-world operational scenarios or to demonstrate the potential of more advanced solutions currently in early-stage development.
Capitalizing on the results of the previous EBSF project, a complete updating of users’ needs and functional requirements, as a qualitative expression of functions that a bus system should include in order to satisfy the users’ needs, have been elaborated. This logic has contributed to the definition of a test scenario for each demonstrator, as the test environment in which the technological innovations will take place, and to the selection of the validation objectives to be met in the “EBSF_2 scenario” versus the “no EBSF_2 scenario”. Each measure is assessed using a classic before-vs-during implementation comparison, with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) assessing performance variations in each individual case study and cross-case. Moreover, to provide more accurate assessment, quantitative Performance Targets have been introduced. At the end of the project, these will assess whether the achieved results have met expectations. There are high expectations for each of the Performance Targets, with values ranging from 5% to 30%, according to the solutions being tested at each demo site.

The evaluation framework has been completed by a measurement plan. The definition of an appropriate measurement methodology is necessary within EBSF_2 to provide the 12 demonstration teams with directions on how to collect the data needed for the evaluation exercise and check the appropriateness of the test scenarios developed, so to ensure comparability between the different sites and allow the transferability of the results.

Coherently with the above described evaluation framework, the EBSF_2 demonstrators have finalised the plans for implementation of the 31 technological innovations under test within the project. Technical specifications, functional and not-functional requirements of the solutions as well as a preliminary risk assessment have been developed. Preparatory activities needed for the implementation of the solutions have been almost completed. Tests are on-going, according to the local time scheduling.

A design working group has been set-up to address a strategic question: can we express an electric bus as a new urban object in light of the key opportunity offered by the energy transition? As a first step, the group has identified the most promising domains in need of new design principles to change the image of the bus beyond its pure technological evolution. Identity, accessibility, information, publicity are the key working areas dealing with the bus experience in the urban space, which is complementary to the experience on board, which relies on the driver/passenger interface, space perception, augmented services, comfort and security and safety.

In EBSF_2, one of the key objectives is to enlarge the awareness of the project’s activities to the largest possible audience by diversifying communication and dissemination actions. EBSF_2 is active through a wide scale of communication channels: events (local, national, European, international), working groups (User Group, Innovation Pathfinders, Design Working Group, UITP Commissions and Committees), media (magazines, website, social media). The communication tools (publications, presentations, reports, flyers, posters) have successfully addressed the sector’s experts but also the general public. Overall EBSF_2 has been presented in about 45 European events with dedicated presentations or sessions. Two thematic workshops have been organised in Lyon and Barcelona, on energy and thermal management, with the participation of several experts and stakeholders external to the consortium. The aim is to enlarge the assessment and validation of the tests performed and results achieved within EBSF_2 as well as to follow the progress made in other European cities on similar challenges. International activities have been organised as well to deepen knowledge exchanges among the bus community worldwide (Singapore, India, Iran, United Arab Emirates, etc.).
Overall, the expected impact of the EBSF_2 demonstrations is an increase in the attractiveness of bus systems and economic benefits with regard to operational costs and energy consumption. The project consortium has identified specific targets to be reached in relation to the priority research areas, among them:
• 10 to 20% reduction of auxiliaries consumption;
• 5 to 8% reduction of energy/fuel;
• 10% reduction of garage/maintenance costs;
• 5% reduction of operation costs (modular bus);
• 10% increase in driving safety;
• 10% increase in passengers’ perception of service quality.

The comparison of the local tests' results by research area will complement the validation of the successful technical innovations and allow the development of guidelines and tools to facilitate their EU-wide transferability. Specific attention will be given in disseminating such outputs to the widest relevant audience.