3iBS project spotlights bus systems’ role in big events

Photo: Flick/Andrew West

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3IBS is a EU-co-funded research project coordinated by UITP that aims to raise the image of urban bus systems and to improve their performance, accessibility and efficiency.

With nine partners and approximately 30 associated partners, the 3iBS project (Intelligent, Innovative, Integrated Bus Systems) takes stock of the bus system as a whole including the vehicle itself, the infrastructure and operations and covers seven key areas, including accessibility and safety, bus service operations during special events, intermodality with private and public transport modes, level of service, internal and external modularity, energy sustainability and IT standardisation.

Big events and bus systems: blind spots and priorities

The management of large events is currently a hot topic in the public transport sector. That’s why the topic of bus system operations during large events was chosen as one of the dedicated research areas of the 3iBS project.

The research seeks to identify blind spots in research regarding how to best to  manage bus system operations in the context of large events, to identify priorities for further examination, to make a roadmap for the European Commission and to produce a checklist for stakeholders.

Selected case studies were  analysed, among them the John Paul II funeral (Rome, 2005), the World Youth Day (Madrid, 2011), and the FIFA World Cup (Curitiba, 2014) to identify operational aspects impacting accessibility and operations of bus services during large events and to support stakeholders in the planning and managing phase.

Existing research on the topic was also taken into account, particularly the experience acquired in the STADIUM project.

The main areas identified as requiring improvement include information systems for massive dissemination to passengers, ticketing systems to allow for rapid validation for big numbers, service modifications to avoid conflicts between bus systems and pedestrian flows, and measures to set-up a public transport system accessible for all users.

A snapshot of Europe’s bus fleets

The project is now more than halfway through its 30-month timeframe. It has involved the analysis of case studies from more than 30 operational or infrastructural solutions in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Turkey and South Africa, and produced good practice guidelines for other European cities.

As part of the research, a questionnaire was sent to operators, authorities and municipalities to gather information on the state of the bus fleet in operation in Europe. The responses covered a fleet of around 70, 000 buses and trolleybuses serving a population of over 100 million inhabitants in 24 countries and provided not only a snapshot of the bus fleet in operation but also showed the main future trends and the relevance of bus systems in local mobility policies.

Towards a European Roadmap

A roadmap for European Advanced Bus Systems is currently under development. It will support national and European institutions in identifying the main priorities for research on bus systems. The first issue of the Roadmap was delivered in 2011 as part of the EBSF project in the frame of ERTRAC (the European Road Transport research Advisory Council) and has been supported by more than 100 key bus stakeholders.

The roadmap is due to be updated based on a review of the results of completed and on-going projects as well as the outcomes of the analyses of the 3iBS key topics.

The new generation of bus systems promoted by 3iBS will help European cities to improve urban mobility and, in turn, their sustainability profile.


  • For more information, visit www.3ibs.eu or contact michele.tozzi(at)uitp.org

Photo: Flick/Andrew West


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