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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article30 December 20221 min read

New EU project fosters integration of autonomous vehicles in public transport services in European cities

Many recent projects and initiatives have tested and deployed automated vehicles (AVs) in the public transport networks of cities, but the large-scale integration of commercially viable, passenger-orientated automated shared fleets has yet to be realised.

The new European Union project, ULTIMO, has now been announced, which aims to foster sustainable, accessible and inclusive mobility.

The aim of ULTIMO is to roll out on-demand services for AVs in public transportation services in Europe. ULTIMO will lay the foundations for the first large-scale, user-oriented AV public transportation service in three European cities: Kronach (Germany), Oslo (Norway) and Geneva (Switzerland), each with 15 or more multi-vendor vehicles per site.

The project aims to achieve a commercial level public transportation service. It will consider all elements of AV deployment in a cross-sector commercial business environment to integrate AVs in European cities and provide on-demand and door-to-door public transportation.

ULTIMO builds on the experience of previous EU-funded projects, such as SHOW, which supports the deployment of shared, connected and electrified automation in urban transport to advance sustainable urban mobility. During the project, real-life urban demonstrations took place in 20 cities across Europe that involved the integration of fleets of automated vehicles in public transport, demand-responsive transport (DRT), Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Logistics-as-a-Service (LaaS) schemes. ULTIMO will continue this work to operate a service with no safety driver on-board and in a fully automated mode with the support of innovative user-centric passenger services.

ULTIMO is led by Deutsche Bahn, together with 23 European partners from eight Member States, and will last for a period of four years.

“The learnings that the sector has built so far around shared automated mobility need to be now scaled up with larger fleets of AVs that are passengers centric and economically viable. Only if larger fleets of AVs are integrated into the public transport network, the benefits of automated mobility for society and environment can be truly unlocked. UITP is proud to be a partner in ULTIMO to help tackle exactly these challenges,” stated Dr Henriette Cornet, UITP’s Thematic Area Leader, Automated Mobility.



Publication date
30 December 2022
  • Autonomous and connected vehicles
  • Europe-wide