Geneva to Launch Automated Minibus Service in 2025

ULTIMO autonomous shuttle. Image © Olivier Zimmermann

Are you ready for the public transport of the future? A consortium including the the University of Geneva (UNIGE), is working on a new automated minibus service to be tested in three European cities, including Geneva. The project will have a total budget of €55 million over four years, with €16 million from the Swiss Confederation and €24 million from the European Commission.

From 2025, 15 driverless electric minibuses will be deployed in Geneva, Switzerland and will be providing routes on demand 24 hours a day. The pilot project aims to establish an autonomous public transport network, offering a door-to-door service. It builds on the results of a recent study called “AVENUE”, conducted by UNIGE between 2018 and 2022. The study tested an automated on-demand transport service at eight sites in Europe, including the Geneva Belle-Idée Hospital.

The consortium consists of 23 partners from eight European countries, including eight Swiss partners such as Geneva Public Transport (tpg) and the State of Geneva. The ULTIMO project will tackle key challenges such as ensuring passenger safety, setting ticket prices, and adapting the legal framework, which currently limits automated buses to 30km/h. The project will also standardize the modeling of the territory to optimize technical costs.

The introduction of autonomous public transport would offer a door-to-door, on-demand, 24-hour service of higher quality. It would reduce costs by avoiding empty trips during off-peak hours and respond to demand in real-time, eliminating queuing and congestion around stations. This project is an opportunity for the canton of Geneva to take part in an international project that can renew and broaden the public transport offer in the context of the profound changes that our mobility will undergo in the years to come.

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