LINC - Transforming Urban Planning Providing Autonomous Collective mobility
"The light rail and the driverless buses will, in general, help ensure that we also have smart, green and flexible ways to transport us collectively in the future. The upcoming light rail is a decisive step, but the driverless buses can create better connections when the light rail is finished and thus ensure that even more people will choose green and collective transport."
According to the UN, by 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double, making urban mobility a key challenge in the 21st century. Private car use being the main contributor to this problem because cars have the poorest use of road space and cause significant environmental problems. Public transport could be an answer but compared to the car it also faces other challenges for the commuter. Whether it is a trip to work, shopping, or returning home, public transport rarely stops directly in front of the passenger’s destination. This is referred to as the “first and last mile” challenge.
The TUPPAC project will address this challenge in LOOP CITY- a collaboration between 10 municipalities on the outskirts of Copenhagen. In the years 2018-2024 a new light rail with 29 new light rail stations will be built in LOOP CITY to attract passengers to make use of public transport focusing on the physical environment and station proximity.
The project will address future challenges of urban transport related to the introduction of driverless technology. This technology develops fast and will disrupt urban mobility in the coming decades. But it also raises questions such as: how can autonomous vehicles be an integrated part of public transportation and how will it affect urban planning? The TUPPAC project will generate the opportunity for completely new types of innovative mobility services addressing the first-last mile challenge in proximity to the new light rail stations being built.
The TUPPAC project will demonstrate the future adaptation of electric, intelligent and driverless shuttle busses in connection with the new light rail stations in LOOP CITY - a solution to the first and last mile challenge of public transport. The innovativeness of the project is reflected in the novelty of combining the development of driverless technology with sustainable urban development. In doing so, the project systematically address the major challenges identified in the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan-framework, and develop, test and demonstrate practical solutions to the principal problems of integrated, driverless bus transport.
TUPPAC will conduct controlled tests with a number of driverless shuttle busses with room for 10-12 passengers at two test beds in LOOP CITY near two future light rail stations:
- Danish Technical University Campus
- Hersted Business Park in the City of Albertslund
The tests involve a high number of passengers in operation and generate knowledge from real-world designed systems to integrate this solution in a range of urban development projects and parts of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP). Focus will be on e.g. safe operation, public trust, cyber security and possibilities for on-demand dynamic routing.
The tests will include both students from the university and employees from the business park as passengers during test periods. Both quantitative data on the performance of the driverless shuttle bus and qualitative data on the experiences of the passengers with this new technology will be collected.
The project will accelerate the introduction of driverless public transport, aiming to complement and in time probably overtake and displace conventional urban bus systems. The solutions tested are aimed at increasing the reach, convenience, and competitiveness of public transport. The learnings from the two test beds have potential to be scaled and implemented at the 28 new light rail stations.
The driverless bus solutions developed in TUPPAC will locally pave the way for autonomous collective mobility connected to the future light rail station in LOOP CITY as a possible first and last mile” solution. Both flexible and dynamic bus routing services will be tested and documented to demonstrate its feasibility in an urban environment.
The expected result is that autonomous buses will provide more efficient public transport options, and reduced waiting time due to optimised route planning and demand responsive scheduling. Further, this will result in a better environment due to low emissions from the buses and the possible increased use of public transportation because of integrated solutions handling the first/last mile challenges. Therefore, it is expected that autonomous collective mobility can transform the bus product by providing safer, cheaper, more accessible, cleaner and more flexible solutions for tomorrow’s users.
The involvement and interaction of passengers using autonomous collective mobility will on the basis of observations, surveys and in-depth interviews provide the project with valuable feedback on the on-board services and bus operation to meet expectations of everyday life.
Finally, the project will deliver value-creation for urban municipality planners on how to implement autonomous collective services in Sustainable Urban Mobility planning in regards to providing a suitable physical and digital infrastructure. Developed guidelines and demonstrated solutions are scalable and transferable to other area of urban development, especially those ones where a new light rail is being built.
September 2018: Prepare the test bed set-up for two test-beds.
Get permission to develop and operate test beds from authorities and plan the test-beds, control, operation, scheduling, routes and digital infrastructure.
October 2018: Procurement or leasing of busses. Beforehand an extensive information gathering is initiated among several potential bus manufacturers and providers to gain knowledge of technology readiness level and eventually provided bus services.
Primo 2019: Start to operate test bed at DTU Campus and Hersted Business Park
First test bed to be set up in a more controlled environment with four driverless buses. Experiences from DTU Campus will be used at Hersted Business Park which is a more open and less-controlled test set up.
October 2020: Develop new innovative urban mobility transition plans demonstrating autonomous collective mobility in LOOP CITY
The new light rail construction accelerates private interest in investing in new housing and work places in the two urban development areas: Hersted Business Park and Gladsaxe Ringby located in LOOP CITY. Regardless of the new light rail urban densification will result in a need to enhance mobility, hereby to provide a higher capacity in collective transport. The milestone will result in development of existing or new approaches to Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) to see how autonomous collective mobility can provide solutions to urban mobility challenges.