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New Test with Autonomous Minibuses Can Solve Parking Problems in Gothenburg

Now the second phase in testing of autonomous minibuses in Gothenburg is under way. For a period of six months, two buses will be in operation at Lindholmen, where Sweden´s tallest building, Karlatornet, is now under construction and where a great deal of Sweden´s vehicle development takes place.

"Autonomous buses can be one of the solutions to the traffic challenges in our increasingly dense cities – and they provide conditions for new and more sustainable urban development," says Oscar Enerbäck at the RISE research institute, who is leading the project.

The first part of the project S3, Shared Shuttle Services, with autonomous buses in Gothenburg was implemented last year at Chalmers University in Johanneberg and concluded at Christmastime.

The project is now being resumed around the developing Karlastad district and Lindholmen Science Park, Gothenburg´s most scientifically-focussed and expansive area. Around 25,000 people spend their time here each day: employees at international corporations and national agencies, students, researchers and increasing numbers of residents. A continued forceful expansion will mean even more people in the area. The construction at Lindholmen is taking up increasingly larger areas and parking is disappearing.

"Public transportation must be prioritised for a sustainable community and maybe car parking should not be closer than the bus stop. We want to demonstrate how the autonomous buses can be a convenient solution to the last part of the trip," says Oscar Enerbäck.

The autonomous minibuses are available free of charge. During the six-month test period, parking fees at the final bus stop on Polstjärnegatan, about one kilometre from the heart of Lindholmen Science Park, will be reduced to encourage commuters to park there.

"We know that the car is important for many people to manage their everyday lives," says Maria Stenström, CEO of Göteborgs Stads Parkering AB. "When access to parking is reduced, autonomous buses that take our customers from a more remote car park can be a complement that increases accessibility in the city."

The buses operate as shuttle buses on weekdays between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. Just like the first phase at Chalmers last year, the Danish company Autonomous Mobility will be in charge of the operation.

"We want to continue to show that autonomous vehicles are safe and comfortable," says Peter Sorgenfrei, CEO of Autonomous Mobility. "We also have the opportunity to learn even more about you to drive in mixed traffic."

S3 is part of the government´s collaborative programme "Next Generation´s Travel and Transport" and is financed in part by Vinnova via Drive Sweden. The project´s first phase in the Chalmers area comprised a total of 1500 bus trips from the beginning of May to the end of December last year. In a survey about seven out of ten, 69 per cent of respondents, say that this mode of transportation was both useful and effective.

Autonomous minibuses with room for 11 passengers are being tested in Gothenburg. With shuttle buses, the need for centrally located parking is reduced, which stimulates densification of the city. The objective is to test how new, shared transportation solutions can contribute to continued sustainable urban development. The project is part of the government´s collaborative programme "Next Generation´s Travel and Transport" and is financed in part by Vinnova via Drive Sweden at Lindholmen Science Park. The initiative is headed by the RISE research institutes. Partners: Autonomous Mobility, Chalmers tekniska högskola, Chalmersfastigheter, Ericsson, Förvaltnings AB Framtiden, Göteborgs Stads Parkering AB, Härryda kommun, Karlastaden Utveckling AB, Rise Research Institutes of Sweden, Stadsbyggnadskontoret Göteborgs Stad, Trafikkontoret Göteborgs Stad, Västtrafik and Älvstranden Utveckling AB.

Route: Two minibuses travel the line from Polstjärnegatan to Stenbocksgatan, Gamla Ceresgatan, Plejadgatan, Lärdomsgatan, Diagonalen and back.
Cost to ride: The trip is free.
Polstjärnegatan parking fees: The price for a parking permit during the test period is reduced to 400 kronor per month, compared with 800 kronor for other parking in the Lindholmen area.  The fee for visitor parking is reduced.
Schedule: Shuttle traffic weekdays 7:00 am - 6:00 pm. 
Bus model: Arma, built by French manufacturer Navya. 
Weight and size: A minibus weighing 2,400 kg, with a length of 4.75 m, height of 2.65 m and width of 2.11 m.
Maximum speed in Gothenburg: 20 km/h.
Number of passengers: 11 sitting passengers, including the driver who must be able to manage any obstacles in the bus´s path and answer questions from the passengers.
Range: approx. 100 km or 8 h of driving.
Environmental friendliness and sustainability: The buses are electrically powered, have lower noise emissions than ordinary diesel or gas buses and do not emit exhaust gases where they drive. They provide an opportunity for a new type of urban development when the need for
central parking is reduced.
International use: The bus model is currently used on lines in France, the USA, Switzerland and Australia.

Additional reading: www.självkö