Driverless transport systems in London and Rome
The global objective of the EU research project CityMobil was to achieve a more effective organisation of urban transport. This should result in a more rational use of motorised traffic with less congestion and pollution, safer driving, a higher quality of living, and an enhanced integration with spatial development. The project was worth 40 million euro and involved 28 partners from 10 countries. The two sites selected to validate and demonstrate the capabilities of automated transport solutions were Heathrow Airport and the new exhibition centre in Rome.
While the problems of mobility in cities have been clearly identified (congestion, pollution, safety, etc.), the requisite solutions are still in their infancy. It is clear that a mix of land-use policies and a shift from the private automobile to a multimodal approach is the preferred trend. The solution for implementing the multimodal approach must recognise the need for both high speed scheduled mass transport (bus, train and metro) and individualised on-demand short distance (public) transport. Automation, in all possible forms - from providing information at one end of the spectrum to fully autonomous driving at the other – plays a major role.
Progress can be seen most in the private automobile sector, where the introduction of so-called ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance systems) has increased driving comfort. Notable exceptions are some automatically operated metro systems (Paris, London, Lille) and some recently introduced automated buses and people movers (Rouen, Eindhoven, Capelle aan de IJssel). CityMobil addressed the issue by exploring the potential of automated transport solutions based on their deployment in real environments.
Such solutions encompass fully automated vehicles which run on tracks (personal rapid transit) or defined corridors (cyber cars) or dual-mode vehicles: traditional vehicles that can be driven manually in mixed traffic or run automatically in reserved areas and dedicated infrastructure.
In the CityMobil project, there are two sites where an actual automated transport system has been installed and where the first results have been evaluated. These are not just demonstrations of technological possibilities, but fully fledged integrated solutions that will be operated and maintained in the long term.
- At the new exhibition centre in Rome, a fleet of fully automated Cyber cars operates in the car park shuttling visitors between the car park, railway station and exhibition centre
- At Heathrow Airport, a personal rapid transit system carries people between the terminals and car parks in fully automated vehicles running on tracks
CityMobil helps cities to make plans and to develop concepts that help the relevant authorities to make decisions concerning the introduction of automated transport systems within their own city or town. Some of these cities have also experienced a small-scale demonstration of automated vehicles.
Final brochure (pdf)
See project website:
European Commission, 6th Framework Programme, Thematic Priority 1.6
The project has 28 partners, with TNO acting as the coordinator
Isaak Yperman, Tom Voge
+32 16 31.77.36
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 031315