STCP is the public transport authority for the Porto metropolitan area in Portugal and is one of the six Procuring Partners of the FABULOS project. STCP wants to contribute to the effective mobility of people, providing a competitive alternative to individual transport and has been driving several innovative projects for new digital technologies. Investigating the advantages and opportunities that autonomous shuttles can bring is part of their ongoing work to provide the best possible urban public transportation system.

FABULOS project paves the way

STCP considers autonomous vehicles a stimulating and impacting development in the mobility sector. But, just as for public transport authorities around the globe, this is a journey that is started with the first steps of a long way. The principal challenge in Portugal, at this moment, for the implementation of autonomous vehicles is the legal framework.

In March 2019, one year into the FABULOS project, the government took a significant step to create a legal framework for testing of autonomous vehicles. Dispatch number 2930/2019 was published, aimed at developing such legislation by national authorities and supporting technical entities. Currently, the results of this work are under consideration at the decision-making bodies: the government and Assembly of the Republic.  

After obtaining a green light from the regulatory point of view, STCP considers it therefore essential to start validating the autonomous vehicles concepts by conducting field experiments. The knowledge gained through FABULOS will prove useful in this respect and STCP will share the results of the pilots of the FABULOS project with the Portuguese authorities. Lessons from Helsinki, Tallinn, Gjesdal, Lamia and Helmond can contribute to the implementation of autonomous vehicles in the public transport in Porto, also beyond the lifetime of the project. FABULOS can thereby provide a big step towards the development of  sustainable public transport.

Benefits to public transport

STCP, as a public road transport operator, considers the development of autonomous vehicles to be important for the future of public transport. These vehicles can serve as a last mile solution, essential to serve the network at the local points of lower demand, thereby optimizing the service and complementing the network. This does not only lead to greater economic efficiency, but the electric vehicles also provide environmental benefits.

Also, in urban centers STCP sees benefits of autonomous vehicles, as they can improve the connection between different modes of transport. At university campuses they are able serve as a passenger distribution factor. Furthermore, they can also provide increased and more flexible capacity in specific cases such as Bus Rapid Transit lines. Lastly, STCP believes that the use of autonomous vehicles will drastically reduce accidents.