EMT Madrid launches “ideathon” for bus of the future

POLIS member, Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid (EMT) has launched a call for ideas to select the technical proposal that will define and design the bus of the future for the city.

This is an approach many POLIS members have taken for developing new pioneering ideas for public transit services. In 2020 Ile de France ran a Traveller Information Challenge which called for applications for solutions to make public transport more accessible; won by a young French start-up, that developed the EZYMOB solution, a smartphone app which facilitates public transport journeys for the visually impaired.

EMT Madrid is undergoing a technological transformation. In line with the Madrid 360 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, its new Strategic Plan forecasts more than one billion euros in investment by 2025 to achieve a decarbonised company with a more sustainable energy mix; seeking to electrify 25% of its bus fleet by 2025. At the same time, the city is aiming to increase public transport use, making services more attractive and easier to use.

Madrid has been a front-runner in technological development for sustainable mobility. Indeed, their app, Mobility 360, combines public transport with free-floating shared mobility services, while during COVID-19 the city experimented with a range of ideas to encourage public transit use.

To accelerate this process EMT is launching a competition to produce the “Concept Bus”. Designers will compete to produce this full-scale prototype vehicle that endeavours to make public transit more attractive.

Success will be based on dual criteria, evaluating technical design and operation (exterior design and its integration into the urban environment, technological and digital innovation presented) as well as social inclusion, equality and accessibility in the vehicle’s design.

This exercise will also allow the municipal company to incorporate the best ideas in terms of functionality and design in its next bus tenders from 2024 onwards.

Based on these premises, the jury will select a single winning proposal and a runner-up (prize of a smaller amount) with a detailed explanation of the reasons why it considers these projects to be winners, as well as a reasoned pronouncement on the rest of the proposals.

The winner will receive a cash prize of 100,000 euros and the runner-up 50,000 euros. In addition, the team of the winning proposal will provide technical assistance and consultancy services for the prototype manufacturing process, with an estimated value of 300,000 euros for these services.

The deadline for submitting ideas is 5 December.