|Owner||Rotterdam-The Hague metropolitan area|
|Daily ridership||1,200 (2018)|
|Line length||1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi)|
|Number of tracks||2 lanes (except bridge over N210 and underpass below A16, single lane)|
|Operating speed||32 kilometres per hour (20 mph)|
The ParkShuttle is an electrically-driven, autonomous shuttle service that runs between Kralingse Zoom metro station in Rotterdam to the Rivium business park in Capelle aan den IJssel. The system first opened 1999 and has been extended since. It has three stops in Rivium (at the 4th, 2nd and 1st streets), a stop Fascinatio (serving the residential area in Capelle aan den IJssel and the Brainpark III business park) and finally at Kralingse Zoom metro station. In 2021 six third-generation vehicles entered service.
Parkshuttle is owned by the Rotterdam-The Hague metropolitan area (MRDH) and operated by the Connexxion bus company. The route lies on its own right-of-way, but it does have level crossings with cars, cyclists and pedestrians. It is double-lane throughout except for a bridge over the N210 "Abraham van Rijckevorselweg" highway and an underpass below the A16 motorway to connect to the railway station.
On weekdays, the Shuttle runs between 06:00 and 21:00. During rush hour a shuttle runs every 2.5 minutes. Outside rush hours, the shuttle runs on demand with passengers pressing a button at the station to summon a vehicle.
In 2018 it was unique as the only operational automated road vehicle in Europe in permanent (revenue generating) service. Since 2015 a number of similar shared autonomous vehicle systems have been developed and trialed in routes shared with other vehicles or pedestrians. The ParkShuttle was trialed in 2019 at both Brussels Airport and at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Some other systems are in operation on private roads (such as around factories). As of mid-2021 some "revenue" systems being trialed.
The system, a hybrid between a personal rapid transit and an automated people mover, works like a horizontal elevator. A shuttle can be manually called at the stop, and there are buttons in the shuttle to request each stop individually (compared to a regular bus service, where stops must be requested at the appropriate time and location).
As of 2018, the route is 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) long and uses six shuttle vehicles numbered 1 through 6 (administratively numbered 5801 to 5806).
The vehicles are fully automatic and follow a virtual route where their positions are checked based on artificial reference points (in the form of small magnets in the road surface). They stop at fixed positions at the stations, most of which can fit two shuttles, one behind another. They are uni-directional (with front-wheel steering) and reverse direction at turning loops at both ends of the route. There is an automatic charging station at the Kralingse Zoom metro station where the batteries of the shuttles are charged every day.
The shuttles are designated as line 500 in timetables, but this is not indicated on the shuttles. The service was free of charge to use until the end of 2011, due to the lack of ticket machines and validators (later replaced by OV-chipcard readers) along with supervisors. Since the end of 2011, OV-chipcard readers are installed at the stops and no paper tickets are sold. As OV-chipcards can only be bought at the metro station proper (not the shuttle stop), passengers must have an OV chipcard on hand when boarding at other stops.
An experimental phase started in 1997 with a vehicle that drove without any passengers for the first three months. The next three months test passengers rode the vehicle and crossing traffic was simulated. During the experimental phase a steward was in the vehicle. Eventually regular passengers were able to use the vehicle and the steward was no longer needed in the vehicle.
The first version of the Parkshuttle ran from February 1999 to 2001 between Rotterdam and Capelle aan den IJssel. An evaluation showed that the new vehicle needed to be able to move more passengers and the waiting time had to be reduced. Furthermore, there was a need for a reliable system and better travel information.
For ParkShuttle II the route was extended and became dual lane. New vehicles were introduced with more transport capacity: ParkShuttle II can carry a maximum of 22 passengers. The system and the vehicles were supplied by 2getthere, where Spijkstaal supplied the chassis and drive system and the design was made by Duvedec.
On 1 December 2006 ParkShuttle II was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. A day later the ParkShuttle was open to the public. Prior to that, concessionaire Connexxion had been granted a concession for the period 2006-2011. In 2011, after a new tender, the concession for a further period of 5 years was awarded to Connexxion. In 2016 the concession was extended by 2 years until December 2018.
Shortly after the system was put into operation, a collision occurred between two vehicles (without a driver) during start-up. The analysis of the incident showed that, after loss of communication at start-up of the system and after removal of the vehicle, an error was made by the supervisor as a result of which two other vehicles were allowed to enter the single lane section from different sides. The obstacle detection system did react, but could not prevent the collision. In addition, one vehicle was damaged by a fire in the storage of the vehicles.
After repairing the vehicles, the ParkShuttle has been running without any significant problems ever since.
During the period of April 2011 to December 2011, the system was out of service due to the construction of a parking garage at the Kralingse Zoom station. The ParkShuttle could not be used because the lane was blocked. A replacement bus service was used during this period. This bus service also runs in case of emergencies and drives on a lane next to the ParkShuttle.
The Metropolitan region Rotterdam-The Hague and the municipality of Capelle aan den IJssel undertook major maintenance on the existing ParkShuttle lane at the beginning of 2017.
On 7 March 2018 the MRDH granted Connexxion a new concession for 15 years, for the period December 2018 to December 2033. This concession includes an extension of the route, renewal of the fleet of shuttles and driving in mixed traffic on some parts of the route. The supplier of the system is again www.2getthere.eu 2getthere, who has worked together with the municipality of Capelle aan den IJssel for this purpose. Together they have submitted a proposal for the replacement and extension with the Marketplace for Infrastructure of the 'Verkeersonderneming', which was granted early 2017. With this, the 'Verkeersonderneming' is responsible for 50% of the costs of realization.
In 2019 the vehicles were due to be replaced and the route extended to the Nieuwe Maas waterway, where passengers can change to the Waterbus at the Van Brienenoordbrug stop. However, a delay has arisen and the recommissioning was postponed to 1 June 2020, but that date was also not met and has again been postponed until 2021. The ParkShuttle will be a unique connection between the Waterbus and the Rotterdam Metro. Also, with the re-development of the Rivium business park, where residency is allowed, the ParkShuttle offers residents access to public transport. On the new route, the ParkShuttle will autonomously drive on the public road. The new vehicles are lighter than before, have air-conditioning and can drive in two directions, so the turning loops at the termini will no longer be needed.
- "Park shuttle". Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
- "Driverless electric vehicles at Businesspark Rivium near Rotterdam (the Netherlands): from operation on dedicated track since 2005 to public roads in 2020". Conference: EVS31At: Kobe, Japan: 7. October 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
- "Self-driving people mover makes its maiden trip at brussels airport". Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- "NTU Singapore to test autonomous vehicles on the NTU Smart Campus". Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- About Spijkstaal
- http://www.duvedec.com/start.html?route=nl/ Duvedec
- https://www.connexxion.nl/reizen/1190/mrdh-verleent-concessie-parkshuttle-aan-connexxion/5055/ Connexxion
- "Rivium 3rd generation". Retrieved 10 June 2021.