LEA (Small) Bus - Requirements & applications of automated and electric (small) buses in public transport

The advancing digitalisation of transport offers the opportunity to make local public transport more flexible, more comfortable, cheaper and thus more user-friendly.

The research project "Research into the prerequisites and possible uses of automated and electric (small) buses in public transport" was to analyse the prerequisites, possible applications and consequences of (small) bus use for rooms with different settlement structures and population densities and thus derive important findings and recommendations for real public transport operation in public space.

The study analysed and evaluated a broad spectrum of approaches, test and control operations for automated and electric cars, minibuses and buses that are accessible to the public. In addition, a systematic preparation according to settlement structural conditions and application cases was carried out. Approaches and experiences from Germany and abroad were examined and success factors, necessary framework conditions as well as obstacles for the use of automated, electrified (small) buses were discussed. Vehicle technology and infrastructure, operational and economic aspects, as well as business models, legal aspects and acceptance were examined.

The two-year project was carried out by a consortium consisting of PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG (management), PTV Transport Consult GmbH, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the consulting and auditing company Rödl & Partner GbR.

Evaluation of previous and planned vehicle deployments

Possible and already implemented areas of application for autonomous, electrically powered public vehicles were systematically compiled for the first time based on literature and internet analysis.

Success factors and barriers to use

The prerequisites and framework conditions that lead to successful use were derived for different area types. This included expert interviews and the simulation of fully automated vehicle fleets interacting with the existing public transport system.

Preparation of a results report

The requirements and framework conditions derived from the project work for the use of automated, networked and electrically operated vehicles in public transport are intended to support researchers and practitioners from local authorities, transport associations and companies.