LINC is one of the largest project with self-driving shuttles in Denmark. Here the shuttles are tested in natural urban environments with everyday passengers who require public transport. The purpose is to develop public transport so that it is also an attractive and green choice for citizens in the future.
Through the tests, LINC collects impressions about how the shuttles operate and the passengers’ experiences on the self-driving shuttles. At the same time, LINC wants to develop the self-driving shuttles so that in the future they can provide citizens with an intelligent service that “comes when you call” and can solve the issue for citizens of covering the first and last-mile to the workplace or home.
The project’s experience will be able to give urban planners insight into the infrastructure – physically and digitally – that self-driving shuttles require. It can prepare city planners for designing sustainable cities that are “liveable cities” – as the shuttles are quiet and run on electricity, and do not, therefore, emit harmful particulate pollution and CO2.
Autonomous shuttle buses, each carrying up to 15 passengers and legally driving at up to 20km/h on public roads in traffic, were tested at the Danish Technical University (DTU) campus (12km north of central Copenhagen) with more than 500 dedicated users. Several smaller demonstrations and tests were done on closed roads at the Hersted Business Park in Albertslund (14km west of Copenhagen). The test areas are located in one of Denmark’s largest urban development areas, where the Greater Copenhagen Light Rail is being built between 2018 and 2025. The area covers a total of ten municipalities, where the 28 kilometres of light rail will pass through 29 stations. The tests were designed to collect information about the shuttles’ performance and commuters’ experience.
The test in the LINC project was one of Denmark's very first trials with self-driving buses operating on public streets and operated for six months. The test triggered dialogues about future sustainable mobility among users, operators, politicians, and media. Furthermore, the tests gave new insights and learnings that are valuable for other cities, both at technical and operational levels. Furthermore, the tests gave new insights and learnings that are valuable for other cities, both at technical and operational levels.
One of the main achievements of the project was to obtain a legal permit to operate the self-driving shuttles. The LINC project not only obtained the permit to operate, but the project also delivered recommendations for improvement of the Danish approval process to decision-makers. In 2022 the Danish Road Directorate and Danish Road Traffic Authority conducted a final evaluation of the Danish pilot scheme for automated vehicles (AVs). In the authority's evaluation, many of the LINC project recommendations have been heard and have now been taken further for a decision in the Danish parliament's decision to extend the pilot scheme for AVs.
The LINC project also developed an app and a smartphone sensing platform that uses Bluetooth beacons to monitor users’ mobility patterns and provide smart services to users and operators.
The learnings from the LINC tests have been communicated in several ways, including a vision and plan for self-driving shuttles as a complement to the lightrail, and a report for decision-makers, including a SUMP-guide that identifies where in the planning process intelligent public mobility can be useful. Several workshops and seminars have been held with decision-makers, and two articles have been published at “mobility check”.