Park Champions on the buses

Park Champion volunteers play a vital role at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; throughout September they are supporting an innovative trial of an autonomous electric shuttle bus. The free service can accommodate 15 passengers and an operator and Park Champion volunteer will be on board for every journey to answer questions and share knowledge about the sustainable legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to the Park to experience a new and developing technology.

The shuttle bus uses state-of-the-art technology, including sensors, cameras, odometry and GPS mapping to navigate and detect obstacles in its path. Its speed is limited to 5mph for the purposes of this trial and the route includes four stops with a total journey time of approximately 12 minutes. While the vehicle has been trialled in other countries, this is the first time it is being tested in such a busy public setting by a public transport operator in the UK. The trial is the first in a programme of initiatives that will lead to the trialling of fully autonomous, road-worthy vehicles at the Park in real-world settings by 2019.

As well as offering beautifully landscaped parklands and playgrounds, world-class sporting facilities, and a varied programme of cultural and community events, the Park has rapidly been established as an area of innovation and collaboration. The trial brings together a range of partners focused on creating solutions to the challenges we face for the future, including Keolis, a leading global transport operator; NAVYA, a principal name in the development of innovative, smart and sustainable mobility; HereEast, home to advanced research, business and innovation centres; and ENGIE, who offer a comprehensive range of clean mobility solutions globally that transform the way energy is used.

The shuttle bus offers an innovative, smart and sustainable solution for ‘first and last mile’ journeys in a busy urban environment that complements other forms of public transport. Park Champions are gathering feedback throughout the trial which will provide important information to inform ongoing work on future mobility solutions. Initial feedback from passengers, following a journey on the service, has been very positive with comments including “am very confident in riding autonomous vehicles now”, “very safe and great way to travel” and “it’s confirmed how safe they are”.

If you would like to experience the shuttle bus for yourself, just hop on at the Timber Lodge Cafe in the north of the Park. The free service is running on the following dates and times:

  • Monday 11 to Friday 15 September 10am to 5pm
  • Sunday 17 to Friday 22 September 10am to 5pm
  • Monday 25 September 10am to 5pm
  • Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 September 10am to 5pm

We look forward to seeing you on the bus!

If you would like to know more about volunteering or opportunities with Our Parklife, please contact us.