Growing recognition of ElectriCity initiative
ElectriCity, a collaborative project between academics, industry and the public sector to provide electrified transportation in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, recently won first prize in the “operational and technical excellence” category at the prestigious UITP 2017 Awards in Montreal. Ericsson is the lead ICT partner in the project, where we work closely with Volvo Buses, Västtrafik, Västra Götalandsregionen, the City of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology and several other organizations. It’s easy to see why the project is attracting so much attention. Not only do quiet and emission-free electric buses contribute to a much more pleasant urban environment – the project has also demonstrated innovative bus stop solutions (most notably an indoor bus stop), as well as intelligent transport solutions (ITS), smart safety concepts and innovative energy solutions. And it’s a fantastic arena for testing new products and services in public transport.
Swedish pop star Zara Larsson recorded a music video on one of the electrified buses to demonstrate how quiet they are.
The UITP and other international recognition
Every two years the UITP brings together the key players in the public transport industry to spotlight ambitious, sustainable and innovative projects with the potential to contribute to increased usage of public transport. More than 230 entries were submitted to this year’s competition. According to the awards committee, “[ElectriCity] successfully integrates all elements of modern bus-based mobility solutions and points to the future of bus services worldwide. Its innovative technology is deployed in real operation conditions and it is perfectly integrated in the public transport system.”
Late last year ElectriCity also won a Euro-China Smart City Award in the “transport infrastructure” category at CINEV 2016 – an event hosted by the European Commission, Shenzhen Municipality Government and China Council for Promotion of International Trade. Further, ElectriCity has been listed by Cities 100 as “one of the 100 most interesting urban sustainability projects in the world”.
What is ElectiCity exactly?
Since its launch in 2013, ElectriCity’s purpose has been to develop, demonstrate and evaluate new sustainable public transport systems for the future. The testing and evaluation of electric bus transport is central to the project. Bus route 55 is the most well-known aspect of the project, which involves 10 Volvo buses (seven hybrid and three completely electrified) that have been servicing the route between the two Chalmers University of Technology campuses since 2015, carrying more than 1.5 million passengers to date. The project has a lot of international visitors – so far more than 6,000 delegations have come to see it.
The project opens up a range of new possibilities for urban planning. On top of the obvious benefits of less or no noise and harmful emissions, electrification means that public transport can be brought much closer to city inhabitants, with integrated bus stops that are indoors or at least more closely connected to buildings.
Photo copyright: Volvo Group
We are ElectriCity’s information and communication technology (ICT) partner and responsible for the connected dimensions of the project, providing communications technology and IoT solutions to establish an ecosystem around the next generation of public transport. So far we have connected selected sensors on all buses to our IoT Accelerator platform and exposed real-time sensor data to app developers. We are also working to extend the connected bus concept with additional use cases such as improved information and user experience for passengers, multi-modal travel suggestions and information about how many passengers are already on an approaching bus. Another initiative is to mount air quality and noise level sensors on the buses and evaluate if we can use public transport vehicles as cost-effective and mobile probes. We are currently calibrating these sensors close to the city’s flagship measurement station.
ElectriCity is a unique collaboration. 15 partners – public, academic and corporate – have come together and delivered tangible results in record time to the benefit of a city. In our experience so far, this is a perfect arena to continuously work with the ecosystem to develop and test scalable transport solutions for smart, sustainable cities – in real life.