Blog: Lessons learned about the smart bus stop

When we began our journey with Urban ICT Arena and established testbed Kistagången we found that we had a bus stop in it. We immediately realized that this was an interesting opportunity. Ericsson invested in the technology below the ground and Clear Channel donated a really big screen that needed fiber access and electricity, which then was added by Stokab, the fiber company of Stockholm City.

Stokab has really used the opportunity to learn how to upgrade the city by retrofitting in existing street furniture. They have deployed different fiber access points on roofs, facades, street lights and grey boxes. The hypothesis was that the street lights would be the best ones for installing sensors – but they couldn’t have been more wrong. The thing is that street lights are designed to fold as soon as a car hits them, which makes them unstable and sensitive to weight. The second thing – which is totally embarrassing if you want to become the smartest city in the world – is that in Stockholm the street lights doesn’t have electricity in them when they aren’t lit. This is somewhat problematic during daytime.

Back to the bus station. A lot has happened with the bus stop during the years. It has been upgraded with extra space for wires, fiber, base stations and other technology – hidden in wiles and ceiling lamps. Base stations has been deployed on top of the roof and an interactive screen har been attached as well. The bus station are simply the best solution for installing sensors and smart city technologies when it comes to existing street furniture – there are 5 500 bus stations like this in the region and they are very robust, which means they are perfect for deploying tech onto. It is more cost efficient to use them and upgrade them instead of exchanging them for new ones. I really think we need to work more with retrofitting or the smartness will take too long.

Anders Broberg from Stokab demonstrating the bus stop at Kista Data Day 2019.

Next step is to put up a multi sensor and start experimenting with how we could add value for the travellers by knowing who they are and use intuitive tolls to help them understand things. One example is to use different colours depending how close the next bus is. Then you could learn if you need to run to make the bus or if you can let it go, grab a coffee and get the next one instead. Or if it is a person with trolley and the next bus arriving is already full in the trolley space the screen could recommend the person to go down and take the subway instead, or something like that.

Regardless of the different solutions, in Urban ICT Arena we provide and prepare all the technical tools you need to start inventing the sustainable and connected city. Join us on this adventurous journey!

–Petra Dalunde, Chief Operating Officer, Urban ICT Arena

Article written by Petra Dalunde