Turning bus stops into data centers and AI cameras to improve bus lane circulation, winners of the challenge to improve the efficiency of the bus network.

  • These projects, by Buspas and Hayden AI, selected as winners of the challenge launched by the Barcelona City Council, through the Mobility Area, BIT Habitat Foundation, TMB and Fira de Barcelona, to test innovative solutions in a real environment.
  • The winners will receive around 200,000 euros to carry out the pilot tests and evaluate the results and feasibility.
  • The awarded initiatives meet the call’s goals of improving the user experience and optimizing bus travel times.

The challenge to improve the efficiency of the bus network, launched by the Barcelona City Council, through collaboration between the Department of Mobility and the BIT Habitat Foundation, the city’s urban innovation agency, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) and Fira de Barcelona, has two winners. The call, published last February, had a double purpose that the selected projects aimed to solve: first, to improve the experience of users, and second, to optimize commuting time.

The two solutions involve providing the bus stops with real-time information and data on the bus network and the road environment in general, while the bus stop itself collects and provides information on what is happening around it, as well as using artificial intelligence to detect from the bus itself both bus lane traffic and bus stop usage, with the aim of improving its speed. Both solutions comply with the data protection regulation (RGDP) at European level.

This challenge received a total of 25 entries from national and international companies coming from different European, American or Asian countries, such as Canada, France or South Korea, as a result of the support and outreach provided by Acció through its Foreign Offices Network.

Smart Bus Stops
The first winner, the Canadian company Buspas, developed a new technology for bus stops that works both as an information screen for passengers and as a data center that transforms the existing infrastructure of the bus stops into a connected environment. Buspas’ goal is to improve the overall experience of bus users by creating a comprehensive and accessible information system that provides real-time updates and data on the bus network, while providing the operator with real-time information on what is happening at the bus stop so as to offer a better service.

The project will have a 16-month implementation schedule from production, prototyping, installation and testing in a real environment. The budget for the project is 97,200 euros, which will cover 80% of the total cost.

AI to improve commercial bus speed
The second solution, by North American company Hayden AI, uses computer vision, cameras and sensors with 5G connectivity to protect bus lanes and bus stops. The system, which is installed inside buses, can identify parked vehicles obstructing traffic and uses technology and artificial intelligence to help understand how, where and when these bus stop and lane occupations affect the operation of public transport. This will improve the traffic flow in the bus lane and optimize its commercial speed.

The uniqueness of the system is that it can be installed inside the bus, protecting it from weather conditions and external influences, while maintaining complete accuracy in the situation detection systems. In addition to the actual detection of bus lane occupancies, technology and artificial intelligence help to understand how obstructions at bus stops and in bus lanes affect the speed of public transport.

The Hayden AI perception platform only records the necessary data to detect acts of indiscipline in the bus lanes that allow to identify the points of the network where there is a greater decrease in bus speed. The timetable for the pilot test will be six months, and it will receive 100,000 euros of funding, 50% of the total cost.

The two winning projects will also receive international exposure by participating in the upcoming edition of Tomorrow.Mobility, which will take place in November alongside Smart City Expo World Congress at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue.

Cornerstone of urban mobility
The Catalan capital has a complete network of quality public transport. With over 100 lines that cover practically the entire city and more than 700,000 daily validations, it is one of the basic pillars of metropolitan mobility. In addition, the commitment to sustainability through the introduction of hydrogen, electric and natural gas vehicles in the fleet means that Barcelona has one of the cleanest fleets in the European Union.

Likewise, the buses are adapted for people with reduced mobility and connected in order to facilitate the circulation, which results in a positive perception of its performance by the citizens (8 out of 10).

Barcelona Innova Lab Mobility
This new call is part of the Barcelona Innova LAB Mobility initiative, promoted by the Barcelona City Council through the Mobility area, BIT Habitat and Fira Barcelona, aiming to promote and enable pilot tests and new projects in the field of intelligent and sustainable urban mobility to diversify the city’s economy and strengthen Barcelona as the capital of innovation in mobility in Southern Europe.

This is the second mobility challenge to be launched as part of this program, after last year’s pilot tests focused on improving safety in the motorcycle traffic, which are now in full development.