You are the bus stop!

First EcoBus fleet operates in the Bad Gandersheim and Kalefeld region

June 10, 2018

The starting signal has been fired - the first five EcoBuses will run during the 60th Gandersheim Cathedral Festival in and around Bad Gandersheim and in the neighbouring community of Kalefeld. "Today we are entering an intensive preparation of the next phase," says Prof. Stephan Herminghaus, Director of the EcoBus project at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization. "With the EcoBus we want to promote low-cost environmentally friendly mobility in rural areas. In the long term, the EcoBus is to be established as a rural mobility system and to connect all existing transport options with each other."

The EcoBus initially consists of five demand-driven minibuses, which will be used for two months in an area around the town of Bad Gandersheim with the Heckenbeck district and the entire Kalefeld community. Passengers book their travels in advance via app, internet or telephone. The algorithm developed by the MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization assigns the travel requests to a certain vehicle so that various travel requests with similar start and destination can be combined. Unlike scheduled transportation services, the EcoBus does not have to adhere to lines or timetables, but serves all travel requests in the service area at any desired time during service hours without changing vehicles. Customers themselves become their own unique bus stops!

Matthias Wunderling-Weilbier, State Commissioner for Regional Development in Braunschweig, is pleased about the innovative cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, the special purpose associations for transport and the local bus companies. "This project is a beacon in the Southern Lower Saxony programme. Its success could lead to a revolution in public transport in rural areas! That's why the country and region have repeatedly promoted the EcoBus."

Astrid Klinkert-Kittel, District Administrator of Northeim, is an EcoBus ambassador from the very beginning, as she expressed great interest in the intelligent mobility solution for rural areas at her first meeting with the researchers back in 2014. "Flexible and individual mobility offers are one of the key issues for rural areas. I am delighted that the EcoBus is finally on our roads and I am sure that this type of mobility will make life in our region even more attractive and that the intensive work for this project will pay off".

The two local mayors Franziska Schwarz (Bad Gandersheim) and Jens Meyer (Kalefeld municipality) add: "The EcoBus will be an enrichment for our region. We look forward to a better networking with our neighbouring communities and a new form of mobility to make the Gandersheim Cathedral Festival and other attractions in our district more accessible, for instance ´Römerschlacht am Harzhorn` or the `Tongrube in Willershausen`."

The research project EcoBus is technically supported by the two responsible public service providers Zweckverband Verkehrsverbund Südniedersachsen (ZVSN) and Regionalverband Großraum Braunschweig as cooperation partners. By cooperating with the Göttingen Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, both public transport authorities hope to gain new insights into local transport in the given area.

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