ERTICO’s latest project will harness the power of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS, also known as Galileo) for innovative developments in public transportation. JULIA seeks to further our commitment to exploiting the EU’s space data and services to enhance the accuracy, reliability, availability, and efficiency of mobility solutions.

EU space technologies are changing the landscape in the transport industry by enhancing efficiency, reliability, and safety. Satellite navigation systems like Galileo (Europe’s global navigation satellite system) provide positioning and timing information, used by routing applications to provide, in conjunction with other sources, real-time traffic data, enabling optimised routes and reduced travel times. Its precise positioning is instrumental in advanced safety features like collision avoidance and emergency braking. The European Earth observation programme Copernicus, on the other hand, collects data from Sentinel satellites, which can be eventually combined with other non-space data sources, such as local air quality sensors available in many cities, to facilitate relevant applications like air quality monitoring.

JULIA: enhancing public transportation with EGNSS technology

ERTICO’s latest addition to its EU-funded project list is JULIA. Coordinated by FACTUAL Consulting, the project is supported by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA). Its mission is to make public transport more efficient and sustainable using advanced features of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS), a constellation of satellites that encompasses Galileo, which provides signals from space that transmit positioning and timing data, ensuring improved accuracy. Also using Copernicus, JULIA will provide an information layer on air quality in urban environments, which will be made available to Public Transport Operators (PTOs) and other stakeholders in order to inform end-users. For two and a half years, the project will improve existing digital applications focused on user needs, tested in 13 pilot locations across Europe to ensure market readiness levels TRL7-9.

In addition to the 13 main pilot sites, ERTICO will lead an open call to PTOs to expand the benefits of the JULIA project. These smaller-scale pilots will involve installing EGNSS receivers in one vehicle per PTO and demonstrating at least one of the JULIA project’s applications for one to two months. These additional pilots will further showcase the project’s potential and encourage wider adoption of its innovations within the public transport sector.

“JULIA’s aim is to help innovate the public transport industry through the uptake of EU Space services and data, and by demonstrating the positive and durable impact of EGNSS, both technical and economic”, says Dr Eusebiu Catana, Senior Manager of Innovation and Deployment at ERTICO.

“JULIA will develop a full suite of TransitTech features for PTOs to enhance an existing Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) algorithm to more efficiently match demand and offer, and improve public transport operation, providing as well an information layer for travellers and city stakeholders on air quality leveraging Copernicus data”, adds Josep Laborda, CEO at Factual and Coordinator of JULIA.

Last November, ERTICO Senior Manager Dr Nikos Tsampieris discussed the ‘Added Value of EGNSS for Public Transport Operators and Users’ during the EU-Space Week 2023. In his presentation of innovative use cases from R&D, he referenced use cases from the JULIA project.

ERTICO has been a  part of successful EGNSS projects in the past.  From 2016 to 2018, ERTICO was a member of the INLANE project consortium, coordinated by ERTICO Partner Vicomtech, which focussed on the fusion of EGNSS and computer vision technology to improve lane-level navigation.

“Harnessing spatial data to enhance mobility nicely complements the feeds through other connectivity technologies. ERTICO is pleased to take part in projects like JULIA, with a focus on public transport. It underlines our continuous drive to bring further intelligence to the transport ecosystem”, states Joost Vantomme, ERTICO CEO.