Digitalization at the Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe

Photo: Copyright BVB

For an economic and cultural city like Basel, efficient public transportation is essential. Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe (BVB) transports over 106 million passengers a year — in other words, over 290,000 people a day. There are 85 streetcar compositions running on nine streetcar lines and 139 buses serving 14 bus routes. If you add up the mileage of all BVB vehicles, they circle the globe once a day.

BVB is increasingly implementing digitalization projects. The basis for communication in the vehicles is an all-IP strategy on which all systems are built. In addition to a secure separation of the various networks, a highly available and high-performance vehicle-to-land connection is essential. As a specialist in network infrastructure, onway has been providing customers in the public transport sector with appropriate solutions for many years.

High requirements for ICT solution

The proof of concept (PoC) for BVB should meet various requirements in both buses and streetcars. These include:

  • Ensuring uninterrupted roaming in the border area with France (EuroAirport/St. Louis) and Germany respectively
  • At stops where there is no or only limited mobile phone reception, the track-side Wi-Fi is aggregated; This ensures the online connection and the processing of large volumes of data
  • Networking of all components in the vehicle via Ethernet, separation of the various applications via virtual routers (VRF) and switches (VLAN)
  • Continuous security zones from the vehicle to the land side
  • Possibility to roll out all services quickly: The automatic passenger counting system (APC) from a third-party manufacturer, which is operated as a container directly on the router, could serve as an example here
  • Proof of the auto-provisioning functionality of both the onway routers and the switches
  • Provision of Wi-Fi for internal applications and/or as a public Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Preparation of various vehicle data via IBIS-IP, ITxPT or CAN-FMS
  • Monitoring and alarming of onway routers and other components 

Fulfilling existing and future tasks

In order to be able to implement the PoC with all its current and very likely future requirements, onway provides the following routers:

  • Bus on2810: Equipped with both a 5G and an LTE modem. This means that both providers can be actively controlled when roaming. In addition, the Wi-Fi ac modem offers various options for internal and external communication. CAN-FMS data can also be read and pre-processed. GNSS is included as standard for positioning, as are the M12 screw connections.
  • Tram on3800: With this railway-approved router, two 5G modems cover roaming. Wi-Fi ac, GNSS and the M12 screw connections are also included.

From laboratory to real-life operation

After a test phase lasting several weeks in a laboratory environment, the ICT solution will be tested in live operation on buses and streetcars from starting from 2024. All mobile and stationary routers could then be put into operation by onway on an ongoing basis and all 115 streetcars and 140 e-buses could be converted over the coming years.