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Towards Advanced Road Transport for the Urban Environment

The objective of the CITYMOBIL project is to achieve a more effective organisation of urban transport. At three sites, Heathrow, Castellón and Rome, large-scale demonstrators will be set up to supply proof of concept of innovative automated transport systems integrated in the urban environment.

Tags: Road


Every major city suffers from the problems that are related to increasing mobility demands. Cities have to deal with pollution, congestion and safety problems caused by increasing traffic. Traditional transport systems are not sufficient anymore to cope with these increasing problems.

With the exception of some automatically operated metro systems (Paris, London and Lille) and some recently introduced automated buses and people-movers (Clermont-Ferrand, Eindhoven and Capelle aan de IJssel), transport systems in the present-day European city are mostly of a traditional type.

CITYMOBIL will contribute to innovative solutions that will allow increased mobility in a well-controlled manner, using technologies with low pollution, high safety levels and a much increased efficiency, using either a separate infrastructure or existing roads. In future mobility scenarios, such new transport systems will be part of the urban environment. These new transport systems will be the answer to the new mobility demands of the future society. In our vision, the urban mobility will be greatly supported by new transport system concepts, which are able to improve the efficiency of road transport in dense areas while at the same time help to reach the zero accident target and minimise nuisances.


CITYMOBIL’s ambitious goals are achieved by:

  • Developing advanced concepts for advanced road vehicles for passengers and goods. Most of the earlier projects addressed isolated aspects of the mobility problems of cities, whereas CITYMOBIL focuses on the overall urban transportation problem. However, CITYMOBIL will integrate the results of earlier projects in its deliverables.
  • Introducing new tools for managing urban transport. CITYMOBIL will develop tools that can help cities to cross the thresholds that are preventing them from introducing innovative systems. For instance, the absence of certification procedures and the lack of suitable business models will be addressed.
  • Taking away barriers that are in the way of large-scale introduction of automated systems. Some of these barriers are of a technological nature, some are of a legal or administrative nature: for example, the legal requirement for vehicles using public roads where the driver is responsible for the vehicle at all times, which effectively prohibits driverless vehicles from using public roads.
  • Validating and demonstrating the concepts, methods and tools developed in CITYMOBIL in three European cities. These demonstrations (Heathrow, Rome and Castellón) will be real implementations of innovative new concepts. In a number of other cities, studies will be carried out to show that an automated transport system is not only feasible, but will also contribute to a sustainable solution for the city’s mobility problems, now and in the future.
Advanced Buses / Cybercars
Advanced Buses / Cybercars

Description of work

CITYMOBIL is divided into sub-projects and each sub-project into work packages.

In Sub-Project 0: General management. Activities relating to the IP management and all dissemination and training activities are combined.

Sub-project 1: Demonstrations. This covers the CITYMOBIL activities related to the demonstrations. The demonstrations serve as a laboratory for developing and evaluating solutions and as a source for identifying problems that can be addressed in the project.

Sub-Project 2: Future scenarios. This will investigate how automated road transport systems fit into the expected scenarios for advanced urban transport in the future, in particular analysing how they will contribute to sustainability.

Sub-Project 3: Technological issues. This addresses the technological and HMI issues that are in the way of large-scale introduction of advanced urban transportation systems. In principle, it only addresses those issues that are typical for advanced transport.

Sub-Project 4: Operational issues. This will extend the current requirements, strategies and policies to the new advanced urban transport systems that CITYMOBIL is going to study. The challenge will be not only to achieve a level of service comparable to the one proposed by the current transport modes, but also to improve it.

Sub-Project 5: Evaluation aims at evaluating whether and under what conditions the project has been successful in meeting its objectives. Lines will be drawn for further development of road transport automation.


At the end of the CITYMOBIL project, there will be at least three sites where an actual automated transport system will have been installed and where the first results will have been evaluated. These will not just be demonstrations of technological possibilities, but fully fledged integrated solutions that will be operated and maintained in the long term. For a number of other cities, plans will have been made and concepts will have been developed that will help the relevant authorities to make decisions concerning the introduction of automated transport systems. Legal barriers will have been identified, and political and administrative strategies will have been defined to remove these barriers, so that they will no longer be delaying implementation decisions. Remaining technical problems will have been solved, or at least brought closer to a solution. In general, the advantages of automated transport systems will be much better known and it will be easier for the relevant decision-makers to choose such systems if they offer the most advantageous solutions for their particular mobility problems and requirements.