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Countryside selfdriving vehicles

The purpose of the project is to investigate the conditions under which self-driving vehicles can offer more attractive public transport in the countryside and thus contribute to a transition to a sustainable transport system.
Photo by Pratichi Mallick on Unsplash

Local traffic in the country is not used to the extent that it could. The buses, when they arrive, run almost empty. Rural accessibility is in practice more or less entirely based on car traffic - which needs to change when the future transport system is to be streamlined and made more equal. The countryside's current local traffic has major financial challenges.

Last spring, the preliminary work on this project was published in a current situation analysis with recommendations for how self-driving shared vehicles can have an opportunity to strengthen the attractiveness of Sweden's countryside through improved communication possibilities and reduced car dependence. Now we propose the next step by conducting a feasibility study based on the local circumstances of the Swedish municipalities and the technical possibilities of international actors - and thus creating the basis for both commercial and pre-commercial procurement.

Buses without drivers can have a dramatically reduced operating cost - and at the same time an increased level of service - compared to existing alternatives. This can allow for higher frequency density and more flexible tours than we currently have with call-driven traffic in the countryside. But to make this possible, vehicle technology, infrastructure and business models need to be adapted and developed.

In this project we identify challenges and develop solutions to reach this potential by delving deep into the needs of four Swedish municipalities (Skellefteå, Gotland, Eskilstuna and Lund), local opportunities and challenges. We develop possible solutions with local and international stakeholders.

Project period:
2020-01-06 - 2021-03-31

Project partners:
RISE, Eskilstuna, Lund, Skellefteå, Gotland, Trafikverket, Ramböll

Contact:
Håkan Burden, hakan.burden@ri.se