smart city data in action …..


The 5C bus route through the city provides one good example of the use of smart data in Copenhagen.

New buses were introduced on this major cross-city route last year. These buses cross the city - passing through the major transport hub at Nørreport, stoping at the central railway station and run out to the airport so it is crucial that passengers have reliable and up-to-date information.

Displays at the bus stop show arrival times for buses approaching the stop - an information service already well established on other bus routes - but once on the bus there are side panels that show the next stop and route maps with information about changing to another bus service whose route intersects. Large overhead displays updates to show clearly, for the next stop, times for buses on other routes and, as the bus approaches the central station, there is not just information about the next available train and the time of departure (updated in real time) but also the number of the platform where the train will depart.

Passengers have access to the same data on their phones if they are planning their route ahead and phones, and for passengers travelling with a rejsekort or travel card, an app on a home computer records trip details for reference but also, of course, this data is available for the efficient management of the system.

With the opening of a new circle line of the metro this year and with plans for a light railway, the system will, more than now, allow passengers to swap between different systems and data systems will make this as easy and as reliable as possible.

5C - design project



Back at the beginning of May there was a post on the site about the new buses that have been put onto the 5C route through the city. But the buses are simply the most obvious part of a complicated and carefully co-ordinated design project.

New bus stops have been built along the route and the longer buses meant that bus bays had to be extended at some stops so the work was co-ordinated with the city roads planners. 

There is a clear colour scheme for the buses with a strong blue and rich yellow and this continues across textiles and graphics but this was not simply a matter of creating a new “house style” because it had to be seen as a step on from existing designs … not too close so it was boring or barely worth the obvious investment but not too much of a difference to require a steep learning curve. Staggering back from work or carrying loads of shopping and pushing a kids buggy you don’t need to be confronted by something so unfamiliar that you are not sure where to go or what to do.

There are far more doors to get on and off the buses so whereas before the entrance was generally at the front past the driver, the new buses can be entered at any of the five doors so there had to be new graphics to explain this and now the doors do not open automatically but with the press of a button … both on the inside but also on the outside. The machines for clocking in and out, some with options for adding extra passengers to your ticket, that have until now been found only on railway and metro platforms are now used actually in the buses.

There are novel features that reflect the much larger number of people on each bus so vertical poles at some points actually split into three - so more people can hold on - and at the articulated join of the two parts of the bus there are barriers to stop you falling against the concertina of the link but this bar is padded so you can use it as a bum rest if you are standing on the join between the two sections.

There are also much-improved graphics for passenger information at a high level - to be seen over people standing - and as the bus follows a long route with a lot of stops that cross other bus routes and rail stations the graphics on a long panel at the centre mark the progress of the bus and the options to change to other routes at each stop.

It would be interesting to know just how many designers were involved on the full project and what the timetable was to interact with quite so many different contractors. This is an extremely good example of just how important good design is even if, for many, it exists very much in the background of their lives. 



an extended bus designed for an extended route

A new design of bus has been introduced on one of the most heavily used bus routes in the city that runs across Copenhagen from Husum Torv to Sundbyvester.

The new 5C is five metres longer than the old 5A buses they replace but they hold far more passengers - in fact 65 more so up to 147 people - and there are more doors with five entry / exit points along the length of the bus and these can be opened by passengers - with large push buttons on the doors - rather than just being controlled by the driver - so more like the system passengers are familiar with on suburban trains.   

There will be significant environmental gains as the buses are CO2 neutral - fuelled by Biogas, they will emit 72% less NOx and 33% fewer particles and there is also a reduction in noise when compared with the old buses.

Statistics for this route are astounding - there are 20 million journeys a year - and, with the new larger buses and new stretches of dedicated bus lane to relieve some congestion on the route, the passenger numbers are predicted to increase by around 5% to an average of 2,200 people an hour. To put that into context Copenhagen airport had just under 29 million passengers last year.

This is an important example of co-ordinated planning as the buses have been funded by the municipalities of Herlev, Copenhagen and Tårnby and upgrading the route has included those new dedicated bus lanes - to reduce delays - and work on new bus stops with wind breaks and more digital traffic information. 


more information on the web sites for movia and State of Green