STIB-MIVB specifies Westermo technology for new electric and hybrid buses

STIB-MIVB electric and hybrid standard and articulated buses from Iveco, Solaris and Volvo.

Viper switches manage communication networks supporting onboard systems.

In Brussels, the local government has prioritised public transport improvements to increase the quality of life for its residents. €5.2 billion is being spent to streamline, extend and increase the density of the public transport network to enable more direct journeys, reduce waiting time and increase accessibility. An important part of this programme of improvements is an expansion of the bus fleet, with the Brussels Public Transport Society (STIB-MIVB) adding 288 new electric and hybrid standard and articulated buses. These will expand the network by a third, helping to intensify frequencies and improve connecting services. 

Five new BlueBus overnight charging standard buses will arrive between September and November 2018 and seven overnight charging midibuses from Solaris are already in service. Twenty-five Solaris opportunity charging articulated buses will arrive between Febraury and August 2019. A further 95 Volvo buses are due to be delivered in 2018 and 15 at the beginning of 2019. 141 IVECO articulated buses will arrive in 2019 and 2020. The new buses have been designed to offer greater accessibility and comfort for passengers, with low floors for increased access, modular designs to create space for pushchairs and wheelchairs and state-of-the-art onboard systems to provide journey and passenger information, ticketing and security systems. 

The onboard systems are important for delivering an optimum passenger journey experience and improved safety. The availability of these systems depends on the reliability of the supporting data communication networks. The typical environment on a bus can be problematic for networking technology due to the constant vibration and extreme temperatures. To ensure maximum resiliency, reliability and security of the networks, STIB-MIVB specified data networking technology from Westermo.  

“On-board systems for ticketing, voice and visual customer information and CCTV on our buses and trams impact journey quality and safety of our passengers and drivers,” said Addi Hanane, STIB-MIVB project Manager. “We must therefore implement the most reliable and resilient communication technology to support these valuable systems.” 

Passenger waving at STIB bus to pick him up.

Technologies from multiple vendors were assessed for robustness and reliability. Westermo Viper Managed switches performed well and offered the added benefit of GORE-TEX® membrane which prevents internal condensation. The 12 port switches have been designed specifically for onboard applications, providing a very compact and robust solution that enables them to be installed in the tight confines of vehicles and withstand the constant vibration. The devices are also able to cope with the extreme temperatures encountered through the summer and winter periods. The switches are powered by the Westermo WeOS operating system, which enables users to construct the world’s most reliable networks, which are also easy to maintain and extremely secure. 

An Ethernet switch and two PoE switches are being applied to the standard buses with an additional PoE switch required for the articulated buses. The Westermo switches were initially installed on the BlueBus and Solaris buses and once in operation have proved to be extremely robust and reliable. In total, one hundred and sixty Viper 112 Ethernet switches and four hundred and thirty Viper 112 P8 LV Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches have been specified by STIB-MIVB for the new buses.

“Onboard applications can be extremely challenging for networking devices, but the Westermo technology is very robust and reliable and as a result we have had no network reliability problems on our new buses,” explained Hanane.

In addition to the new buses, Westermo switches have been installed on all of the existing 700 fleet as part of a project to improve the reliability of the communication networks supporting on-board computers. These are ensuring critical vehicle information is available to the driver at all times, helping to identify potential problems earlier and increase overall fleet reliability and performance.

Read more about Westermo's range of Viper Managed Switches

Jennifer Mooney-Perrotta

Customer service, Westermo North America

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