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Rivium

Autonomous Shuttles: mixed traffic on existing roads for financially viable transit for modest volumes

Driverless Buses

Driverless buses are the future, as Morgan Stanley states the car of the future is shared, autonomous and electric. Which means that the introduction of driverless vehicles actually starts – and should start – with the introduction of autonomous shuttles. Such public transit vehicles are the key to ensure the liveability of cities by ensuring the appeal of the driverless car doesn’t result in an increase of the number of cars and car movements on city streets. Driverless buses are available as a 4-passenger taxi and 20-passenger mini-bus.

Mixed traffic

Safely integrating driverless buses in mixed traffic is (only) possible today when operating in a semi-controlled environment. In suchenvironment the complexity of mixed operations is reduced through a degree of control over the four application aspects (1) speed, (2) intersections, (3) access and (4) behavior. In case of insufficient control of the complexity the only way to ensure the safety today, is by means of safety driver or steward and low(er) speeds restricting the throughput and capcity that can be realized.

2getthere’s applications

The first applications of driverless buses are expected in a limited size, dedicated area. 2getthere’s Rivium system operates in a semi-controlled environment: although operating on a dedicated track, there is no control over access to the track and the behavior of other road users. The vehicles were actually used in various mixed traffic demonstrations in 2003 and 2004. The Rivium ParkShuttle serves as a benchmark for 2getthere in the study of the requirements for safe integration of automated vehicles in various environments.

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Automated Transit Networks: direct origin to destination travel on a network of dedicated guideways

Automated Transit Networks

2getthere’s Automated Transit Networks (ATN) feature automated vehicles operating on a dedicated network of ‘guideways’. They are able to serve numerous origins and destinations, with the guideways optionally constructed at grade, with at grade intersections. Passengers benefit from on demand operations or at a high frequency. At the same time cities benefit from the reduction of car traffic, congestion and the environmentally friendly character. Developers maximize land value and reduce space wasted for non-value added activities.

2getthere’s ATN

2getthere deploys two types of automated vehicles in ATN networks: the 4 to 6 passenger PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) and the 16 to 24 passenger GRT (Group Rapid Transit). The PRT vehicles operate as automated taxi’s: on demand, connecting origin-to-destination directly, with passengers paying for the service per vehicle. The GRT vehicles resemble automated mini-busses: operating at a high frequency, with passengers paying for transit per seat. Typical applications include universities, hospitals, business parks and airports.

Why opt for ATN?

ATN systems’ dedicated guideways ensure both safety and throughput, while the small and light-weight automated vehicles provide flexibility to operate in a network.They provide lower operational and life-cycle costs compared to APM systems. 2getthere is the leading supplier of ATN systems, with 4 applications realized to date. This includes the first (and only) automated vehicle system with at grade intersections at Rivium business park in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel (the Netherlands) and the world’s first PRT system at Masdar City (Abu Dhabi).

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Innovation Expo

Innovation ExpoDennis Mica, Business Development Manager

The most advanced autonomous vehicle, to be introduced at Rivium business park next year, will be at the Innovation Expo.

3rd gen Autonomous Shuttle

The Innovation Expo 2018 (October 4) is open to visitors from 09.00 a.m. until 08.00 p.m. The bustling expo hall (closing at 06.00 p.m.) features a host of interesting and amazing innovations. In addition, you may participate in in-depth substantive sessions. 2getthere will be exhibiting as well: for more information please visit https://innovationexpo2018.nl/en/programma/2getthere/.

Just like at Intertraffic, 2getthere will have its 3rd generation vehicle on display. The vehicles is the most advanced in the market and is in a class of its own in terms of build quality. This is a direct result of the long life requirement set for the vehicle, while being developed for the heavy requirements of public transit use. Join us at the RDM campus to see for yourself that self driving vehicles are mature enough to provide operations on a daily basis.

Innovation Expo

Taking innovations further, realising breakthroughs, and thus contributing to the social challenges we are facing in our country and in the world. That is the ambition of the Innovation Expo 2018 (IE2018) in Rotterdam. On 4 October 2018, the RDM Submarine Wharf in Rotterdam South will be transformed into one big Living Lab. A while ago, under the flag of the National Programme Rotterdam South, we started to work on improving education, employment, safety, and living conditions in this area. Here, in these remarkable, dynamic surroundings, participants in the IE2018 will experience the latest trends and innovations that help to keep our country safe, liveable, and accessible.

The IE2018 is a sample sheet of the most recent and high-profile developments that the Netherlands has to offer. We will present Dutch solutions to the major social challenges in the fields of the circular economy, energy, water, mobility, the built-up environment, health, and food, as well as the required enabling technologies.

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ITS-Copenhagen-2018

ITS Copenhagen 2018Dennis Mica, Business Development Manager

We will be at ITS Copenhagen and are always available for a good exchange: whether on technology, lessons learned or your plans!

ITS Copenhagen 2018

The ITS World congress is hosted by Copenhagen in 2018, before coming to Helmond in the Netherlands next year. With 2getthere’s vehicle production and testing in Helmond, and the Rivium project in testing and commissioning by that stage, we are certainly looking forward to displaying our vehicles to visitors.

Obviously, we’ll also present at ITS Copenhagen 2018. 2getthere’s Dennis Mica and Rien van der Knaap (OC Mobility), project manager on behalf of the City of Capelle aan den IJssel, are presenting ‘The autonomous Rivium ParkShuttle, from dedicated lane to mixed traffic (SAE level 4)’ as part of the Connected, Cooperative and Automated Transport topic. The session starts at 11.00hr on September 20th (Room Montreal, B5 M1).

Please join us to learn more about the first autonomous vehicle project (1999), the extension and operations of the 2nd generation to date and the planned extension now in progress. In mixed traffic, without safety steward and at speeds in excess of 25kph.

For more information on the conference program, please visit the conference website.

About the ITS World Congress

ERTICO ITS Europe organises either an ITS World Congress or an ITS European Congress every year. The Congresses provides the ideal opportunity for all stakeholders to come together, discuss and make the necessary contacts to move initiatives forward and to develop their business by exhibiting and demonstrating state of the art ITS solutions.

During the Congress, ERTICO Partners also have the opportunity to arrange more focused ancillary events before, during and after the Congress, as well as having access to meeting rooms, lounge areas and hospitality rooms. ERTICO develops specific mobile applications, networking facilities, webinars, videos, interviews and articles on both topics in focus at the Congress but also on the different companies participating. This provides the ERTICO Partners with yet another means to promote their technologies and services.

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safety-security-reliability

safety, security and reliabilityRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

If we really want to learn more about autonomous transit systems we’ll have to look at permanent systems in daily use.

safety, security and reliability

The autonomous vehicles that the Dutch municipality of Capelle aan den IJssel deploys to connect the Rivium business park and metro station Kralingse Zoom received high marks for safety, security and reliability by passengers. This is the outcome of a quantitative study into the ease of use of the ParkShuttle connection. Furthermore, the study shows that reliability is ultimately the decisive factor in passengers’ readiness to use any kind of autonomous public transport.

The study (N=109) was conducted by Jochem van der Burg, a social geography student at Utrecht University. He focused on seven operational factors of the ParkShuttle: (1) safety and security, (2) reliability, (3) travel time, (4) information services, (5) price and payment system, (6) comfort and (7) integration in the public transport network. The aim was to establish which of these operational factors most determines ease of use and how the insights gained from the study could be used in the decision-making process of autonomous transit systems elsewhere.

Overall, 90% of the respondents were positive about the ease of use of ParkShuttle, giving it an average mark of 7.2 on a scale of one to ten. Reliability proved to be the most decisive factor: four out of five respondents said they felt the system was reliable, mainly because of its frequency and punctuality.

This will only get better in the future, said Robbert Lohmann, CCO of 2getthere (the developers of the shuttles). “The autonomous vehicles currently in use are in excellent condition, but nevertheless they are 15 years old. When we introduce the third generation of vehicles, reliability will further improve and as a result so will ease of use. The same applies to comfort, another factor of influence.”

Contradicting results

Despite the fact that ParkShuttle in Rivium is still unique as it is the only permanent autonomous shuttle system integrated in a public transport schedule, Van den Burg was able to compare the results of his study with those of various demonstrations across the globe. This led to some surprising conclusions.

For instance, it became clear that ParkShuttle passengers’ appreciation of security was relatively high (they felt that criminal activity on the shuttle was very unlikely), despite the absence of on-board stewards. This contrasts remarks by passengers in a demonstration in Vantaa, Finland, who provided a low score for security despite the presence of safety stewards in its set-up. A possible reason for this lies in ParkShuttle’s passenger capacity and the resulting social control. Vehicles in the Finnish demonstration carry no more than ten passengers, whereas the autonomous shuttles in Capelle aan den IJssel carry up to 24.

Demonstrations versus live situations

Lohmann’s response to this: “Another obvious difference lies in the fact that response in the Rivium study is based on the experience of commuters who have been using the shuttle service for several years. Finnish respondents were asked for their impressions after a ride in a temporary demonstration, meaning their response is more likely based on expectation than actual experience. As far as we’re concerned, this shows the relatively low value of such demonstrations. If we really want to learn more about autonomous transit systems we’ll have to look at permanent systems in daily use. Sadly, those are still few and far between.”

Information to improve

Although information services play a relatively minor role in ease of use, this factor received the lowest scores. This applied to the information provided at stops and on the shuttles, as well as the ready availability of information in case of delays or cancellations.

Lohmann: “This will soon be a thing of the past. As part of the renewal and extension of the system for Rivium 3.0 we will be installing information kiosks at shuttle stops to display system status and the time that the next shuttle will arrive. Inside the shuttles the current single information displays with push buttons will be replaced by two 19” vertical touch screens displaying up-to-the-minute information about the shuttle’s travel time.”

Lohmann is convinced that this study will help the organization of future autonomous systems in public transport. “Many demonstrations are set up to find out if people are prepared to use autonomous public transport systems,” says the 2getthere executive. “This study shows that such demonstrations are no longer necessary, as it’s now clear that people have no trouble embracing systems that are punctual, safe and reliable. Add to that a solid business case and you’re ready to take the next step towards a permanent application.”

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Happy with Sjoerd investigating autonomous vehicles at Rivium

Blij met SjoerdRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer

Some days are simply better than others.

Blij met Sjoerd!

Sjoerd works for supermarket chain Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, but is also an aspiring vlogger. In his series ‘Blij met Sjoerd’ he chases news that makes people happy. When chasing news he’s chauffeured by his driver, and best friend, Ron. How will autonomous cars influence their friendship? Sjoerd doesn’t want to miss Ron, so he sets on a mission to find out what autonomous vehicles are all about, visiting the autonomous shuttle application at Rivium business park in Capelle aan den IJssel. We had a blast supporting the recording: some days are simply better than others!

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2getthere opens project office at business park Rivium

Most-advanced-autonomous-vehicleFrans Goyarts, Chief Operations Officer

“The project office provides us a space at the heart of the project and accommodates our employees from the region.”

Rivium Project Office

With the recent award of the replacement and expansion of the Rivium project, 2getthere decided to open an office at the business park. Being close to the site where the system needs to be installed, allows for project meetings to be held locally and work closely alongside the city of Capelle aan den IJssel, MRDH and all other parties involved in the delivery of the project. The office is at a premium location, overlooking the river ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and the Van Brienenoord-bridge.

Regional Workforce

The Rivium office also provides an office close to home for 2getthere employees living in the Rotterdam-the Hague area. With many of 2getthere’s employees having graduated from the Technical University in Delft, the area is well represented among the company’s workforce. With the flexibility to work from home, when not possible, the local office provides an alternative to HQ in Utrecht.

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14 million passengers delivered and counting

most experience autonomous vehicle supplierRobbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“The experience with day-to-day passengers is invaluable.”

Most experienced autonomous vehicle supplier

Based on the daily operations at Schiphol, Rivium, Floriade and Masdar City, 2getthere delivered over 14 million passengers to their destination to date. This excludes passengers transported as part of demonstrations and trials in France, Monaco, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands as well as the large-scale ride system delivered in a high-profile theme park attraction in cooperation with Oceaneering.

The number of passengers delivered makes 2getthere the most experienced autonomous vehicle supplier. By a lot. At Rivium the 2nd generation GRT transit system has carried 2,500 passengers on a daily basis for the past 11 years. With the introduction of the 3rd generation and the extension towards the Waterbus, this number is expect to increase further to approximately 3,000 per day. Robbert Lohmann: ‘The gap towards other companies entering the market for Shared Autonomous Vehicles will only become larger upon the opening of the Bluewaters application. With an hourly capacity of 3,500 passengers, the system is likely to deliver in excess of 15,000 people per day to their destination. 7 days a week, 365 days per year.’

Actual Behavior versus Conscious Behavior

The real value of the experience doesn’t lie in the passenger number, but having learned from the actual behavior of passengers. Lohmann explains: ‘We have done demonstrations and delivered applications. The difference between the two is that in demonstrations, passengers are aware that this is a demonstration and exhibit ‘conscious behavior’; if there is a fault in the system they are patient, almost accepting and thankful to experience the development process. In real life, there is no patience, just anxiety about being late or missing a connection. Being able to deal with this technically, by ensuring availability and reliablity, and operationally, is what sets 2getthere apart from start-up suppliers. The experience with day-to-day passengers is invaluable.’

The experience influences design and technology choices in support of providing the required system availability and reliability. ‘Operations have to be ensured during all weather conditions – rain or shine – and in all environments, even hot and humid. That’s why we put great attention into the development of the airconditioning system in the 3rd generation GRT vehicle.’ 14 million and counting!

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Driverless vehicles? A piece of cake!

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“This will be the first certified driverless system without safety steward.”

Driverless Vehicle Safety Assurance

February 6th marked the kick-off of the safety assurance process of the Driverless Vehicle project at #Rivium business park in the Netherlands. The application will be the first in the world without safety driver on board and with certification. The new law which allows a driverless vehilce on Dutch roads is expected to be active in 2019 and prevents exemptions and safety drivers being required for operations of autonomous vehicles.

The law assigns the responsibility for approval to RDW, the authority responsible for approval and validation of vehicles on Dutch roads. For the approval process RDW involves several expert organizations which evaluate 2getthere’s safety case and the application design relative to the set safety target for their own area of expertise.

Driverless: Piece of Cake

The stakeholders involved in the process include SWOV (road safety specialists), De Verkeersonderneming (Public-Private Partnership ensuring accessibility of Rotterdam region), de Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag (Regional Transit Authority), AON (insurance), Connekt (Network for Smart Mobility), local police and of the local cities of Capelle aan den IJssel and Rotterdam.

The ultimate goal is to advance the knowledge and introduction of autonomous vehicles, develop and introduce new guidelines, rules, regulations in Europe. The kick-off was both inspiring and delightful, with all stakeholders becoming aware of the challenges of the project ahead while enjoying a piece of cake.

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Rivium business park first to introduce autonomous shuttles in mixed traffic

Robbert Lohmann, Chief Commercial Officer 2getthere

“This is a 3rd-generation system; the product of 20 years of experience with earlier generations.”

First autonomous system

In the coming years, 2getthere’s ParkShuttle in the Rotterdam region (Capelle aan den IJssel) will be transformed into the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without featuring a safety driver or steward on board. With the ParkShuttle, the city aims to further increase regional accessibility. It’s a world premiere for the Netherlands: no permanent autonomous system operates on public roads anywhere in the world.

The first phase of the new system will be operational by 2019. Today, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel, De Verkeersonderneming and technology supplier 2getthere signed an agreement to this end. The new system will also be the first system to meet the certification criteria for the draft legislation governing the use of self-driving vehicles in the Netherlands (Experimenteerwet zelfrijdende auto).

The ParkShuttle that runs between metro station Kralingse Zoom and business park Rivium is the first urban driverless vehicle system in the Netherlands and has been operational since 1999. In the 17 years that have passed, more than six million passengers have used the system. It has been a long-standing ambition of the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and 2getthere to renew the system and expand the route via existing public roads.

Now this ambition will become reality. 2getthere will supply six new shuttle vehicles (GRTs) with a capacity to transport 500 passengers per hour in each direction. The new GRTs will be operational on the current route in the summer of 2019. In 2020, this route will be extended towards a stop at the Van Brienenoord bridge where passengers can board the Waterbus. The route will run over public roads, amongst manually driven traffic. The Waterbus connects the ‘Drecht cities’ (Alblasserdam, Dordrecht, Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht, Papendrecht, Sliedrecht and Zwijndrecht) with Rotterdam, with the ParkShuttle providing access to the Rotterdam metro network. It is expected that the ParkShuttle will see a 20% increase in daily passenger numbers as a result of the extension.

Safe and ready for public roads

The extension of the current route is a world first. Demonstrations with stewards on board (level 3 autonomy) are conducted regularly, but there is no autonomous system operating on a public road and in mixed traffic without a steward (level 4 autonomy) anywhere in the world. Although 2getthere has global experience developing fully autonomous public transport systems, this is the first time that so many level crossings with regular traffic and pedestrians have to be configured.

According to 2getthere’s CCO Robbert Lohmann, this is now a feasible challenge due to a combination of spatial planning and the latest technological developments, ensuring optimum safety for all road users. Lohmann: ‘Bear in mind that this is a third-generation system; it is the product of 20 years of experience with earlier generations. Driving autonomously on public roads has become part of our technological road map and ties in with our vision on autonomous transportation in general. Not only the system itself is taken into account but also how autonomous transport fits into the urban environment.’

2getthere expects the Lower Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to vote in favour of the new bill on the experimental use of self-driving vehicles that will be discussed next year. Lohmann: ‘This bill determines what authorisation requirements are appropriate for fully autonomous vehicles. We are currently looking into this with the Dutch Government Road Transport Agency (RDW) to determine what is required and how to fulfil the most stringent safety requirements. This alone shows that this is truly a pioneering project.’

Investment >EUR 4 million

The new ParkShuttle requires a EUR 8.5 million investment, half of which will come from De Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam, a public-private partnership between the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Rotterdam/The Hague Metropolitan Area, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and Port of Rotterdam. The investment forms part of the ‘Marktplaats voor Infrastructuur’, an initiative that promotes infrastructure-related public-private partnerships. It also underlines the ambition of the Metropolitan Area to assume a leading role in the realisation of autonomous transit.

Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly according to Capelle aan den IJssel’s Alderman Dick van Sluis: ‘We are exploring the possibilities to extend the route to Erasmus University Rotterdam. This extension, as well as the connection to transport over water, will result in a massive increase in the amount of passengers. We are also anticipating the realisation of Rotterdam’s new stadium Feyenoord City, allowing spectators and visitors of events to travel from Rivium. The business park will be able to welcome many visitors who aren’t necessarily reliant on their car, which fits really well with our ambition to transform it into the Rivium Campus: an attractive urban environment where working, living and leisure go hand in hand.’

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First autonomous shuttles on the public road at Rivium business park

Alderman Traffic and Transit, Dick Van Sluis

“Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly.”

world’s first

From 2018 2getthere’s autonomous ParkShuttle in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel will be transformed in the world’s first autonomous system operating on public roads without safety driver or steward. This world first, follows the first autonomous vehicle pilot (Schiphol Airport, 1997), the first urban autonomous vehicle application (Capelle aan den IJssel, 1999), the first mixed traffic demonstration with an autonomous vehicle (Delft, 2004) and the world’s first Personal Rapid Transit system (Masdar City, 2010).

4,25 million Euro investment

Last November the Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH) announced the extension of the current operating concession of Connexxion through 2018. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel and  2getthere, at that time already expressed their ambition to renew the system and extend the route using existing public roads. This ambition is now becoming reality with help of an investment of 4,25 million Euro on behalf of the ‘Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam’, a public-private-partnership between the city of Rotterdam, MRDH, the ministry of Infrastructure and the Port of Rotterdam.

Leading by Example

Robbert Lohmann, COO  2getthere, states: ‘Rivium is the only truly autonomous system operating at grade today. With the steps now taken, it will become the first autonomous system to mix with other traffic on public roads without safety driver or steward as well. This is a major step, as we are delivering an application rather than a demonstration and are skipping the stage in which a steward is still required in every vehicle. Having over 12 years of experience with truly autonomous operations, it wouldn’t make sense to have to reintroduce a person on each vehicle like the various demonstrations now feature. The investment made now shows the ambition and leading role of the region and the city as well as the competitive edge ;2getthere,  has over start-up companies trying to develop concepts which they hope eventually have similar capabilities.’

transportation chain

Alderman Traffic and Transit Dick van Sluis of the City of Capelle aan den IJssel is also thrilled with the investment. ‘Our ambition is to transform business park Rivium into an innovative transit node. The route of the ParkShuttle system is extended to the base of the Van Brienenoordbridge where a connection to the Waterbus [a local transportation service connecting various cities in the Rotterdam area – ed.] will be realized. The investment is part of a regional investment program by the Metropolitan region and its first important step in assuming a leading role in the realization of autonomous transit.

In addition to the extension of the route within Rivium, we will also commence an electric bike sharing scheme and create a seamless transition from car, bike, waterbus, ParkShuttle and metro. Driverless transit will be an integral part of the transportation chain and not just a ‘last mile’ solution for travel between Rivium and metro station Kralingse Zoom.’

Significant Growth

Currently the ParkShuttle carries over 2,400 passengers daily. This number will increase significantly according to Alderman Van Sluis: ‘We are exploring the possibilities to extend the route to the Erasmus University. This extension, as well as the connection to transport over water, will result in a massive increase in the amount of passengers. We are also anticipating the realization of Feyenoord City [the new stadium of the Rotterdam based soccer team – ed.], allowing spectators and visitors of events to travel from Rivium. The business park will be able to welcome many visitors who aren’t necessarily reliant on their car, which fits really well with our ambition to transform it to the Rivium Campus: a place where working, living and leisure go hand-in-hand.’

Performance Delivered

Although innovation is important, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel values availability and reliability first and foremost. This is the primary reason the cooperation with the current developer,  2getthere, is continued. ‘2getthere,  is the leading developer of driverless systems. We embarked on the first project 20 years ago! We know each other well, believe in the robust and sound technology and system of  2getthere,  and have built a considerable advantage in knowledge and experience. The investment of the ‘Vekeersonderneming Rotterdam’ is an important step to further increase our leading position’, according to Alderman Van Sluis.

Robbert Lohmann adds: ‘The transformation to operate autonomously on public roads aligns well with our technology roadmap and planned developments. We value the partnership with the city, which is clearly demonstrating it wants to lead by example as well. With the renewal the application at Rivium will remain host to the frequent reference visits for our technology.’

In the upcoming week Capelle aan den IJssel and  2getthere,  will conclude the provisional investment with ‘de Verkeersonderneming Rotterdam’. After this step the city and  2getthere,  will continue to work out the detailed agreement, with the first work commencing before the end of the year. In 2019 the new system will be operational and the transit node Rivium-Campus will be realized.

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Operations contract of Driverless Parkshuttle extended with 2 years

ParkShuttleDick van Sluis, Alderman Roads and Transit, City of Capelle aan den IJssel

[quote]”We are realizing more-and-more that the we have been ahead of our time with the ParkShuttle.”[/quote]
 

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Extension ParkShuttle

The world’s first driverless vehicle, the ParkShuttle at business park Rivium in the city of Capelle aan den IJssel (the Netherlands) will continue operations for at least 2 more years. The Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH) confirmed the extension until late 2018 of the concession of operator Connexxion last week. The city of Capelle aan den IJssel has voiced the intent to renew the system and expand it once the concession runs out.

The ParkShuttle is operational since 1999, making it the first driverless vehicle system in the world. In the 17 years that have passed, it has grown into a big success with the system carrying over 2,000 passengers per day. Although not showing their age, the currently operational vehicles are over 13 years old and have each driven over 200,000 kilometers. As part of the extension of the concession remedial works will be conducted to correct the rutting of the road and restore the driving comfort. 

Extension ParkShuttle

The high appreciation scores of the passengers in combination with the positive influence of the system on business park Rivium as a location for companies, are the basis of the decision to extend the concession. A recent survey of passengers shows the ParkShuttle scores favorably in comparison to a bus service on reliability, operational hours, waiting times and passenger information.

The city of Capelle aan den IJssel has the intent to renew and extend the system by late 2018. The initial extension will be towards a stop at the ‘Van Brienenoord’ bridge where a station for the Waterbus will be created. In addition the location will house a rental facility for electric bikes. The route to this location runs over public roads, amongst manually driven traffic. As such the ParkShuttle is likely to be the first autonomous system operating in mixed traffic without actually featuring a safety driver or steward on-board.

   

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Ahead of Time

‘We are realizing more-and-more that the we have been ahead of our time with the ParkShuttle’, comments Alderman Dick van Sluis, responsible for Roads and Transport. ‘Where autonomous transit has only become a hot item in the last 2 years, we have experience dating back to 1999. That gives us a great advantage and ensures we are in the spotlight both within the Netherlands and internationally.’

Within the region administered by MRDH there are several other locations where autonomous transit is being considered. Alderman Van Sluis: ‘Now that the concession has been extended, it allows looking at other systems and extending the ParkShuttle. The latter is our challenge for the upcoming period: how can the ParkShuttle contribute to the development of Rivium to an attractive and innovative location for companies.’

Focus on Innovation

Naturally Eric Bavelaar, managing director Connexxion for the West Region, is very appreciative of the extension: ‘It is vital that in a time where we foresee mobility significantly changing in the coming 15 years, we expand on the basis that was founded with the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and MRDH.’ As an important stakeholder in public transit, Connexxion focuses on innovation with the ParkShuttle being a primary example. As such Connexxion will also deploy additional service employees to stimulate the use of the ParkShuttle system.

2getthere is currently developing its 3rd generation automated vehicle, incorporating the sensory systems to be able to drive in mixed traffic. The new vehicles are lighter, completely bidirectional and feature air-conditioning. The first prototype will be available end of January 2017. 2getthere is in contact with the city, MRDH and Connexxion about using these vehicles for the extension and renewal of the application.

2getthere’s CEO Carel van Helsdingen: “We are pleased with the 2 years’ extension and the ambition of the government to renew and extend the system. However, what pleases us even more is the positive ratings by the passengers of the system. Over the years the vehicles have proven their reliability and service level during all weather circumstances.”

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Enthusiastic Visit to Rivium for Insights in driverless transit

Dennis Mica, Business Development Manager, 2getthere

[quote]”This is 10 years ago and we more-or-less still see the same demonstrations.”[/quote]

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Insights in Driverless Transit

Earlier today 2getthere hosted ‘insights in driverless transit’ at business park Rivium in the City of Capelle aan den IJssel, providing information about the key aspects related to the realization of automated vehicle systems. The ParkShuttle system at Rivium remains the only automated vehicle system operational at grade, featuring at grade intersections with other traffic, which doesn’t require a safety driver or steward on each vehicle to warrant the safety.

The program ‘insight in driverless transit’ was hosted for consultants specifically, drawing visitors from Italy, South-Africa, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, USA and the Netherlands. Presentations during the morning program were made by the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague, Ricardo Rail, SMRT and 2getthere.

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Podcar Conference

In the afternoon the ParkShuttle served as the reference visit preceding the Podcar Conference. Following earlier conferences in amongst others Silicon Vally, the conference is organized on 20 and 21 September in Antwerp, Belgium. In addition to 2getthere, the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and Connexxion shared their experiences with the operations of the ParkShuttle system over the last 10 years with the visitors.

Subject of presentations and discussion during the conference will be Mobility as a Service, experiences with operational systems, policy making, sustainability, safety, multimodility and ‘City of Things’. Speakers represent local authorities, real estate and system developers, public transit operators, consulants and universities.

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2getthere hosts Insights in driverless transit ahead of Podcar conference

Carel van Helsdingen, Chief Executive Officer, 2getthere

[quote]“The lessons learned from the application at business park Rivium are the basis for the Masdar application and the 3rd generation GRT vehicle.”[/quote]

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Morning Program

The development of self driving vehicles is growing tremendously. What is the impact of automated vehicles in public transport? How can we prepare the city for these self driving vehicles and specifically for public transport? What do you need to know to properly advice your customers which laws, standards and regulations to apply?

Preceeding InnoTrans in Berlin and PodcarCity in Antwerp, we would like to invite you to ‘Insights in driverless transit’ on the 19th of September in Capelle aan den IJssel in the Netherlands. The program consists of speakers from MRDH, SMRT, Ricardo Rail and 2getthere.

09:30              Welcome
09:45              Introduction by Dennis Mica, 2getthere

10:00              Presentation by Gert de Visser, MRDH
                         ‘Insights in process of selection and introduction’

10:30              Presentation by Jan Scheepers, Ricardo Rail
                        ‘Insights in safety certification’

11:00              Presentation by Mark Ng, SMRT
                        ‘Insights in operations of last mile solutions’ 

11:30              Presentation by Jean-Luc Valk, 2getthere
                        ‘Insights in the 3rd generation GRT system’                   

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Afternoon Program

In the afternoon a reference visit to the ParkShuttle is organized as part of the Podcar Conference, hosted in the city of Antwerp on September 20 and 21. As an introduction the parties involved in the realization will talk about the experiences from their perspective.

13:00              Presentation by Dick van Sluis, Capelle a/d IJssel
                        ‘Lessons learned by the city’

13:20              Presentation by Peter Krumm, Connexxion
                        ‘Lessons learned by the operator’

13:40              Presentation by Carel van Helsdingen, 2getthere
                        ‘Lessons learned by the supplier’

After conclusion of the last presentation we will spilt up into groups of 20 people for an on-site visit to the Rivium application. It is still the only automated system in the world that operates at grade, without stewards and has crossings with other traffic.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues or other consultants in your network that like to learn more about automated vehicle systems. The conference on the 19th of September is free of charge.

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[one_half] The construction works of the new P+R facility at metro Station Kralingse Zoom, also the starting point of the ParkShuttle service towards business park Rivium, are entering the next phase. As a result of the works using the track of the system, the system will temporarily not be available starting April 18th. It is expected that the operations will be resumed early July.

To ensure the accesbility of the Rotterdam region, the traffic in the centre is to be reduced. To ensure public transit is an attractive alternative for people, P+R facilities are being created at the periphery of the city. These are located at the major intersections, where high quality and high service public transit and car accesibility are both present. P+T Kralingse Zoom is one of the most important P+R locations and is currently being upgraded: the capacity is being increased through the construction of a new parking garage (from 730 parking spaces to 1.525). [/one_half]

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The following movie (in Dutch) also highlights the works: wegwerken

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[one_half] The business park Rivium operations are currently facing an increased number of passengers daily as a result of building works adjacent to the track. Due the construction of a new parking facility, the bike path and walkway adjacent to the track have had to be closed down, with the people being carried by the ParkShuttle system.

As the construction also diminishes the number of parking spots available, a temporary parking has been created on the other side of the A16. Passengers that used to get directly on the metro, now first use the ParkShuttle to get to the metro.[/one_half]

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As a result the capacity of the ParkShuttle system is not sufficient any longer to deal with the demand on the system. For this purpose operating company ConneXXion has added two manually driven mini-busses to the operations. One mini-bus serves the passengers with bikes, while the other serves as a short connection between the temporary parking at the metro station.

The video provides an impression of a typical morning rush hour with the arrival of metro. The images are taken from a CCTV camera part of the system and accelerated – the real time interval is approximately 20 minutes.

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The first urban autonomous operations at Rivium

Rivium Business Park

When Rivium business park was first created it required a good public transit connection. With a relatively small distance (1.2 kilometers) to metro station Kralingse Zoom, it was felt that an automated system would be preferred over a manually driven bus due to the repetitive nature. As a rail solution was deemed to expensive, autonomous shuttles were suggested. Based on its experience with automated vehicles in the Port of Rotterdam, 2getthere was selected as supplier.

Initial Installation

The initial installation featured 3 vehicles, each accommodating up to 10 passengers. The route is realized on what was previously planned as a bike path: should the system not deliver on its promises, it allows for the infrastructure to continue to be used. It also means operations on a single lane, with designated locations to allow vehicles from the opposite direction to pass. A landmark bridge over a major highway ensures entry to the Rivium business park.

Lessons learned

While intended for 1 year only, the system operated for nearly 3 years. At that time it was concluded that it did deliver the transit service desired, with improvements to comfort, reliability and capacity desired. The transit operator Connexxion set up a list of requirements to tranform the vehicles from machines to means of public transit. One of the vehicles served in the Schiphol application for several years, before also being decommisioned.

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12 years of level 4 autonomous operations at Rivium

System configuration

In 2006 the system is replaced with 2nd generation vehicles. The route is extended with two additional stations, to serve deeper into the business park. Another station is added to serve the new business park Brainpark III and the residential area Fascinatio developed along the existing route. The length of the route is increased to 1.8 kilometers, with several at grade intersections for cars (3) and pedestrians (5). The bridge remains single lane to avoid the required additional investment.

Daily Operations

The system is operational on weekdays as it primarily serves the business park. Operating between 06.00am and 09.00pm, the six vehicles carry approximately 2,500 passengers per day. In the peak hours all vehicles are operational at a 2.5 minute headway, providing a capacity of approximately 500 passengers per hour per direction. In the off-peak hours vehicles alternate charging. The system is in revenue service, integrated in the national ride fare system of the Netherlands.

12 years of service

The first vehicles were completed in 2004, serving in various demonstrations within Europe before commencing service at Rivium in 2006. After an initial concession of 5 years, Connexxion is awarded a second term of 5 years and a subsequent 2 year extension. In the 12 years of operations, each vehicle has exceeded 250,000 kilometers driven. The operations are supervised by a single operator per shift, who who is also responsible for cleaning and sales of individual tickets.

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Redeveloping the service and business park: Rivium 3.0

3.0: Replacing the service

In 2017 the city of Capelle aan den IJssel and 2getthere partnered to submit a proposal to ‘de Verkeersonderneming’ and were granted a 50% contribution for renewal and extension of the system. Starting September 2019, six new 3rd generation vehicles will be introduced to replace the 15 year old vehicles that have been operating the route for 12 years day-in-day-out. Connexxion will continue to operate the system on the existing route, serving the existing stations.

3.1: Extending the route

By late 2020 an extension of the route, in mixed traffic, is foreseen towards the waterfront where a stop for the Waterbus will be created. The ParkShuttle becomes the unique link between the Rotterdam metro network and the Waterbus. 2getthere works together closely with RDW, the Dutch road authority, to be approved as the first autonomous system to be certified for operations in mixed traffic without safety steward on-board. The extension increases ridership by an expected 20% to approximately 3,000 per day.

3.2: Increasing capacity

The introduction of the 3rd generation ParkShuttle was the spark that ignited the redevelopment of the Rivium business park. Where previously it was the business park in the Netherlands with the highest rate of available space, it is now (nearly) ‘sold out’. Offices are being transformed into housing and new residential buildings are introduced, resulting in 7,000 to 9,000 residents at Rivium. To accommodate livability and accessibility, the public transit capaacity needs to be upgraded to accommodate the redevelopment.

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