Today is another important day in the “Route 12” project of the Swiss Transit Labs: It is the day on which the “Trapizia”, the self-driving vehicle with all-wheel drive and twin motorisation that has recently arrived, is undergoing inspection on the depot of the public transport authority of Schaffhausen (Verkehrsbetriebe Schaffhausen, VBSH). This vehicle is a technical further development of the “Trapizio” model that went into service in March last year. The new vehicle can cope with the steep climb of up to 15% from the Rhine Falls basin to the centre of Neuhausen without getting in a sweat. What happens to the passengers may be a different story.
This inspection by specialists from the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) and Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) will decide whether the new vehicle is allowed soon to be used on public streets in order to allow the route to be extended down to the Rhine Falls. This will mean that the new vehicle can then replace the existing one. Besides AMoTech, VBSH and the vehicle manufacturer NAVYA, specialists from FOT, FEDRO and the Cantonal Road Traffic Authority will take part in the inspection.
The passing of the inspection is an essential requirement for obtaining the permission to use public roads
The first point is to assess the vehicle from the outside and the inside. The inspectors will check that all the necessary documents are available and in proper order and that the relevant regulations are being observed, both for road vehicles as such and for vehicles used in regular public transport services.
The braking and starting tests were performed at an earlier date by an accredited test laboratory. Nonetheless, the brakes are to be tested yet another time to see – for example – whether the vehicle remains on track even in a hard stop.
Line 12 will be operated bi-directionally on the extended section. For this purpose, the vehicle must „switch heads“. Special attention is being paid to this aspect.
Following these tests and constructive feedback from FOT and FEDRO, the good news is to be announced:
We have passed the inspection and our new vehicle is soon to obtain the permission to travel on public roads and streets!
Another major milestone has been reached today, of which everyone involved in the project of the Swiss Transit Lab may justly be very proud. Support by NAVYA and VBSH and co-operation with the experts of FOT and FEDRO were extremely constructive. Without their crucial support, it would not have been possible to achieve this success within such a short time.
So, what are the next steps now?
Trapizia is to be included in the existing decree on the Rhine Falls pilot test. As soon as this paper from FEDRO is available, the licence plates can be collected from the Road Traffic Authority. Then, the section down to the Rhine Falls is to be measured again and the lane is to be configured. Now the vehicle can undergo thorough testing along the route, and the stewards can be trained to use the extended section. Once everything has been done, Trapizia is to officially go into service and visitors to the Rhine Falls can look forward to travelling with Trapizia right down to “Schlössli Worth” directly on the banks of the Rhine Falls basin.