A great combination: Public transport and autonomous driving (2) – necessary steps

Autonomous vehicles and public transport – a new multipurpose solution for the future?

More and more autonomous vehicles, flexible mobility services, lower costs – public transport and autonomous driving could become a model example of perfect integration. Today, we talked with Dr.-Ing. Jochen Lohmiller, Manager Microscopic Simulation at PTV, about the necessary steps.

Compass: What role does autonomous driving play in the field of public transport?

Jochen Lohmiller: Public transport is an important and indispensable component of any modern mobility concept. All our simulations show that our cities would not function in the future without mass transportation. Therefore, every facet of autonomous driving is of interest to public transport operators. Be it for the development of future-proof mobility concepts or through new vehicle scheduling options for depot management or daily operations.

Compass: What could public transport combined with autonomous transport look like in the near and distant future?

Dr.-Ing. Jochen Lohmiller, Manager Microscopic Simulation at PTV

Jochen Lohmiller: More and more autonomous vehicles will be used in urban areas. In addition, we expect parts of the nationwide public transport system (operating according to a timetable) to be replaced by on-demand ride-sharing services, especially in rural areas. The increasing number of autonomous vehicles will lead to enhanced intelligent control of traffic through operations control systems. If mobility is to succeed in the future, public transport operators will have to work closely with mobility service providers. And it is important to find out to what extent cities or operators can offer mobility services or how many mobility service providers a city can tolerate.

Compass: What are the long-term goals?

Jochen Lohmiller: We want to be able to consider autonomous driving in all relevant transport modes. Be it future planning of autonomous vehicle fleets, the evaluation of the consequences when autonomous vehicles are combined with conventional vehicles or the development of integrated and sustainable mobility concepts – our aim is to support today’s cities with our simulation tools, making them ready for the future and helping them take the right actions.