Future-proof antennas with 5G, 4G, WiFi and V2X for buses

The challenges of transport system transformation and digitalization

In Germany, the number of newly registered buses since 1970 amounted to a total of around 80,500 vehicles. Since 2012, this number has increased continuously by 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles per year. The climate policy goal of raising the number of public transport passengers and the extensive subsidies provided by the federal, state and local governments are also driving this development forward.

In cities, this passenger increase can often be solved by well-developed public transport systems which combine different means of transport. Besides the tram and light rail networks, buses play a central role. In rural areas, more investment in bus transport will have to be made in the future in order to be able to offer attractive and usable mobility services here too. This is also reflected in the current figures of the VDV: with 28 billion passenger kilometers, buses are the heart of public transport. The urban railways currently provide only 18
billion passenger kilometers.

In addition to the pure growth of the fleet, technological considerations are also becoming increasingly important. E-mobility and digitization also play a crucial role in the field of local public transport for the clean and economical operation of bus fleets. Within just one year, the number of electric buses has risen by 38 percent to 838 vehicles.

Not only are vehicles becoming more complex in terms of the power unit, but also individual systems within the buses require increasing networking with central control systems. Buses are thus to be equipped with additional comfort functions for passengers. In addition to the well-known free WIFI on board, this also includes e-ticketing solutions, information boards with news and timetables or an increase in the feeling of security through video surveillance systems. But also the driver‘s workplace is becoming increasingly digital. Turning, lane keeping or emergency brake assistants are also becoming part of the drivers‘ daily work, making it safer and more comfortable.

Especially for electric buses, management of the charging cycles and permanent transmission of vehicle data is essential. The operation and maintenance of buses is very complex and can be made much more efficient by digital solutions. Maintenance intervals can be planned better, vehicle failures can be avoided, thus increasing efficiency and reducing costs. The transmission of vehicle positions can be used for a permanent optimization of routes. The same data is used for a display at the stops to give the passenger a higher feeling of comfort and safety. In the future, autonomous driving will also play a role for the communication technology to be integrated.

Networked digital buses – optimize radio connections

All these solutions require a high expenditure of communication technology. Numerous radio technologies for data and voice radio must be installed in new and existing buses to make the described applications possible. The most frequently used technologies for this are:

  • Mobile technologies such as 4G LTE and 5G
  • WIFI-technogies
  • TETRA- transmission technologies for fail-safe voice radio
  • Proprietary UHF/VHF technologies for traffic light priority control
  • V2X (vehicle-to-everything) technologies for communication between two or more vehicles (V2V – vehicle-to-vehicle) or other, fixed end points such as stops, traffic lights or the depot (V2I – vehicle-to-infrastructure)

More topics

  • Challenges in the selection, installation and operation of antenna solutions on buses
  • Future-proof antenna solutions ensure cost reduction and a stable communication connection
  • GPS und GNSS must be protected against interference
  • Which antennas can be used?

You want to learn more about use cases, advantages and examples for a future-oriented, digital regional transport? Download the whitepaper now.