EBSF: THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC LOCAL TRANSPORT COMES A STEP CLOSER
Four years of project work, 48 partners, 7 demonstration projects and a total budget of around 26 million – these are just some of the statistics generated by the European Bus System of the Future, or EBSF for short, which is the biggest road-related transportation project to be funded by the European Commission to date. The UITP presented the results of the individual EBSF projects, or so-called "Use Cases".
As a comprehensive, widely networked research project for the design and development of an innovative, high-quality European bus system of the future, four years ago the EBSF project took on the goal of demonstrating the capabilities of a new generation of urban bus networks and creating the basis for an integrated systems approach (vehicle, infrastructure, technology, operation) with takes future passenger requirements into account. Project members in seven European countries have painstakingly assessed and compiled the data from the demonstration projects. EvoBus GmbH participated in two projects.
One of the demonstrator vehicles created as part of the EBSF project was based on a Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated bus. The vehicle incorporated ideas from a sub-project concerned with passenger information and communication systems. The Citaro G was used for nine months between 2011 and 2012 by the Bremerhaven Public Transport company on route 502.
Using a host of visual features both inside and out - such as a door entry and exit system controlled by LED lights using traffic light colours, a seat identification system or externally aligned monitors, and also information systems in the interior - the responsible project managers hoped to gain an insight into whether and how passenger flows could be managed more specifically and rapidly. It was also hoped that the newly designed area opposite doors 2 and 3 would shed light on the flow of passengers. Here fixed seating or spaces devoted purely to pushchairs or wheelchairs were dispensed with, and in their place an open space with folding seats and leaning areas was created. Another goal of the trials, which were conducted in real regular service conditions, was to ascertain the best information channels and best content to use to address passengers, tourists or tour groups. A comprehensive host of additional equipment (WLAN, GPS amplifier, 240 V sockets) was designed to enhance the appeal of regular service buses, and also to provide information on whether such features could generate new target groups or even strengthen the appeal of regular service buses for existing users.
Nine months of regular service operation have provided a very clear picture of the practical application of such systems. While follow-up work still has to be carried out on some ideas, others have proved suitable for immediate implementation. The design of space using leaning areas and folding seats was in fact so well received that the Bremerhaven Transport Authority has already applied the idea by retrofitting the design to many of its vehicles. Newly acquired vehicles will basically help to continue to implement the idea. Another success was achieved in the area of passenger information systems. Two-thirds of the fleet have already been fitted with 20-inch monitors. The mixture of infotainment, news reports and transport connection information proved so popular among passengers that the transport operator sees this as a significant measure for increasing the appeal of the bus service. Although passengers did not consider a lot of the additional equipment such as WLAN, 240 V sockets and the seat identification system to be absolutely essential, such measures were nevertheless viewed positively within the context of modernity.