Mobilizing a suburb with driverless buses. That’s what the pilot project in Aalborg Øst is aiming for. The area is currently divided and the residents need mobility, both in the local area and to connect them to surrounding towns. By deploying a self-driving shuttle service across the area in a trial period, the residents of this area will be able to move around in an easy and safe way, which will bring the neighborhood closer together.
(Dansk version her).
The project in short
The shuttle bus will share a path with cyclists, while pedestrians will have their own designated path. The route travels along the Astrupsti, from Jerupstien down to the newly opened care home for residents with dementia, and back again. The route is a total of 2,1 km long and it has ten stops which are being built into the path, with wheelchair accessible platforms.
By improving mobility within the local area, the projects aims to:
mobilize a group of citizens who are not very mobile today
link the residential area to the existing public transport in a more sufficient way
make Aalborg Øst a first mover in self-driving technology
heighten safety in the area and create a sense of local ownership of the shuttle buses
contribute with learning about the meeting between technology, city and users
The City of Aalborg has joined forces with Aalborg University and Nordjyllands Trafikselskab, to create the framework for a unique research and development project about the implementation of driverless technology and the effects it has on society. Choosing Autonomous Mobility as a partner in this project, moves the City of Aalborg a big step closer to making this project come to reality. The collaboration is like an OPI partnership (public and private innovation), with the intention of continuously adapting and developing the shuttle service, based on the practical learnings and insights.
Developing the Aalborg Øst area
The driverless bus is part of a larger urban development project in Aalborg Øst. The bus helps to promote a sustainable development of the area. In the future, the area is going to be highly connected through the path called Astrupstien, which will be the main street and arterial road, connecting different types of housing and residents in Aalborg Øst.
The bus will provide a sense of unity and local ownership surrounding the development of Aalborg Øst. Driving past a community center and library, a shopping center, as well as several housing areas, the bus will be used by various types of residents across all ages and backgrounds.
Building this new open urban space around the area Trekanten (the Triangle) and the tunnel under Humlebakken, is done by the City of Aalborg in collaboration with Real Dania. The expansion of the path going through the area is done in collaboration with Himmerland Boligforening, Alabu Bolig and Lejerbo, who co-finance the expansion through Landsbyggefonden.
Where is the project now?
The development around Astrupstien and the surrounding areas is moving along very well and the new paths are already being used by residents.
An application for the project has been sent to the Danish Road Directorate and is currently being processed. We hope to have a final approval of the project within a few months, meaning that we will start operating the shuttle service in the beginning of next year. In the meantime, we are busy training our operators for the buses and preparing them for the project at hand, so they will be able to give people the best possible introduction to this new technology.
In the beginning of March, Frida Vium from Street Station Urban Art Studio in Aalborg, in collaboration with kids from Fritidscenter Smedegården, started decorating one of the tunnels along the Astrupsti with graffiti. The tunnel travels under Smedegårdsvej and is one of the tunnels that the driverless bus with will be driving through, once it is in operation on the Astrupsti in Aalborg Øst. The theme for the graffiti in the tunnel is “Jungle” - with a particular focus on endangered species or animals that give off positive associations, such as birds that symbolize freedom, or lions that symbolize strength.
The artwork is similar to what’s previously been done on the garages by Trekanten Bibliotek og Kulturhus, which you can read more about under these great pictures.
The buses that will be in operation in Aalborg Øst are 100% electric and will be charged in some garages next to Trekanten. Instead of just having some plain boxes taking up space, they were beautifully decorated at the end of last year, by artists from Street Station in Aalborg. They’ve done such an amazing job with the artwork, which give the area a real facelift - we are crazy about it!