Shuttle of the autonomous line 490 on a road in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

Île-de-France: Keolis launches its first regular service line operated exclusively by autonomous shuttles

Shuttle of the autonomous line 490 on a road in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
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Words byKeolis
    Line 490, in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, is a bit different from the rest. Operated entirely by autonomous shuttles, it culminates 5 years of testing in new mobility solutions.

    Context: a new line of autonomous shuttles

    In 2019, the city of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (78) launched France’s first call for tenders for a regular service line of autonomous shuttles in the Paris region. Keolis, selected by Île-de-France Mobilités, won this contract in 2020 for a period of two years. As with traditional bus lines, the Group committed to meeting a range of service quality indicators: commercial speed, regularity, bus frequency, cleanliness, accessibility for PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility) and passenger information. 

    Innovation: a line of autonomous shuttles integrated into the city’s traditional bus routes

    Joint efforts between the Keolis Group and its subsidiary in Versailles made it possible to combine a technical trial of autonomous shuttles with the knowledge of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. In operation since March 2021, Line 490 is composed of autonomous shuttles that are fully integrated into the urban area’s transport network. The Navya shuttles connect the train station with a business district and can seat up to 11 passengers. An operator is also present to inform passengers and ensure proper service.

    Stretching over 1.6km, the route is not without its technical challenges: it notably crosses through roundabouts and a high-speed lane. V2X technologies enable the shuttles to communicate directly with traffic lights for automated passage through intersections. Not only does the communication system enable vehicles to exchange information with each other, but also with infrastructure and pedestrians. 

    Inauguration of the autonomous shuttle of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the presence of Valérie Pécresse

    Estelle Chevallier’s portrait

    Estelle Chevallier

    Head of the Intermodalities & New Mobilities Department at Île-de-France Mobilités

    "“IDFM has set key success factors for the service, which is a first in France. The evaluation of the quality of service is based on frequency, regularity, availibility and speed, similar to the quality delivered for a bus line. Moreover, the integration of the service in the network to complement other modes and real time information are key criteria for the service success.”"

    Benefits: service quality comparable to traditional buses

    The autonomous shuttles now travel a hundred kilometers per day and have already transported 5,500 passengers. An app available to operators enables them to gauge ridership and provide alerts about incidents during trips: this information is then provided in weekly and monthly reports to Île-de-France Mobilités. So far, all service quality indicators are in the green! The project’s success is due in large part to the on-site managers and operators, who are able to anticipate service disruptions and put in place alternative solutions when necessary. To this end, they received dedicated training at the Keolis Autonomous Mobilities Testing Site, located near Châteauroux.

    Sign "Autonomous shuttle: a departure every 8 minutes".
    Autonomous shuttle: one departure every 8 minutes.