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ABE Södertörn releases report on autonomous buses

A steering wheel in a bus.
Published May 24, 2021

The project has now released its final report, providing suggestions on how future self-driving electric buses can be utilized by analyzing a potential crosslink in Södertörn.

Autonomous Electrified Busses Södertörn analyzed the potential for and societal impacts of a full-sized autonomous bus on the proposed highway Tvärförbindelse (‘Crosslink’) Södertörn in southern Stockholm.

In the project, SWECO and KTH (ITRL) performed a thorough outlook, a study on multimodal hubs, and an analysis of three scenarios, exploring different levels of autonomous driving:

  • Bus Driver Plus - with a driver on-board who takes control when needed
  • Automation with Adaption - achieving self-driving capabilities through physical infrastructure
  • Automation Utopia - achieving self-driving capabilities through digital infrastructure

The requirements for each scenario was evaluated in workshops with representatives from OEMs, operators and governmental organisations. The scenarios were then evaluated using Trafikverket’s method for performing cost-benefit analysis, Samlad effektbedömning (’Total Impact Assessment’).

Funded by Trafikverket, the study found that the largest benefits were associated with more comfortable and faster trips, rather than savings from removing drivers. Making a more attractive service also encourage travellers to choose public transport over the car. However, there are still large uncertainties regarding how passengers perceive their journey.

Another finding were that physical and digital infrastructure together with vehicle requirements are a relatively small cost compared to driver costs, although a separate lane would be very expensive and may have substantial adverse effects. Furthermore, reduced vehicle damages and injuries are comparably small net benefits for buses.

Besides ITRL, SWECO, and Trafikverket, partners involved also included Volvo, Keolis, and Scania.

Read the full report in Swedish here (pdf 2.3 MB)

ABE Södertörn project page