Highlights From The Trolley90 & Its Sustainable Future Conference

The trolleybus system of Budapest celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, therefore experts from Hungary and Europe gathered in Budapest on 9th November to celebrate the trolleybus service and discuss the possibilities of its sustainable future from different perspectives.

The day started with a workshop, where the Circularity Compass was introduced – the navigation tool that aims to accelerate the incorporation of the 10 circular economy principles in the public transport sector.

The workshop focused on the Circularity Compass Self-Assessment Tool, a tool for public transport operators and authorities to assess the status quo, reflect on challenges and opportunities and identify possible actions for the transition to fully circular public transport systems. Participants tested its effectiveness within six material blocks (vehicles, batteries, railway infrastructure, charging infrastructure, facilities, energy), and provided valuable insights for enhancement.

This workshop was a key component of the broader validation process, which includes internal and external reviews and a pilot test in January 2024.

After the workshop, the day continued with the conference. As a first speaker, Gábor Nemecz from BKV Ltd. introduced the 90-year history of trolleybus transportation in Budapest by providing insights into the evolution and technological advancements.

Gianluca Costantini from ATM S.p.A talked about the history and evolution of the ATM Milano trolleybus system, inaugurated in 1933 just like its counterpart in Budapest, emphasizing key elements like depots, infrastructure, and future perspectives for the trolleybus fleet. Extreme weather events like the storms and floods faced by Milan this summer raise the attention to the impacts of climate change.

László Szedlmajer from BKV Ltd. provided insights into the history of Budapest's trolleybus service from the operator’s point of view, focusing on the current vehicle fleet, self-driving Solaris-Skoda trolleybuses, and the experiences gained from self-propulsion tests.

Wolfgang Backhaus, President of trolley:motion, highlighted the significance of raising awareness for trolleybuses by successful examples like the In-Motion Charging eBRT system in Prague. Additionally, he emphasized the synergies between various aspects of public transport (e.g., trolleybuses and e-mobility).  

Arnd Bätzner, Vice Chair of the UITP Trolleybus Committee, introduced a comprehensive overview of various bus propulsion modes, including Diesel, Battery Electric Bus (BEB), Fuel Hydrogen Cell (FHC), Opportunity Charger, and In-Motion Charging (IMC). He presented global bus electrification strategies and showcased successful implementations from around the world.

Ibrahim Diab from TU Delft introduced the DC trolleygrids as sustainable, multi-functional, and multi-stakeholder electrical infrastructures, with a focus on the trolleybus grid of the future.

Catalin Frangulea-Pastor, representing the Brasov Metropolitan Area, introduced the fleet renewal initiatives in Brasov from 2018 to 2023. The presentation emphasized key aspects such as funding opportunities for the renewal projects during this period.

Marcin Wołek and Mikołaj Bartłomiejczyk from the University of Gdansk provided a joint presentation about the 80 years of trolleybus transport operation in Gdynia (Poland). They focused on the developmental stages, key technological aspects, and the role of trolleybuses within Gdynia's broader transport policy.

Dr. Zoltán Ádám Németh from Szeged Transport Company (SZKT) addressed the current developments in Szeged with a specific emphasis on the status of the system and experiences with battery-powered autonomous trolleybuses. He also introduced the cohesive development of trolleybuses and electric buses.

Presentations are available HERE.

The day ended with a site visit to the BKV trolleybus depot, reached by participants with a heritage Ikarus 280T trolleybus. Attendees had the opportunity to explore the depot, the vehicle exhibition, and gain insights about the batteries used in the trolleybuses.

The event was organised jointly by the Interreg CE4CE project partners (Szeged Transport CompanyMobilissimus Ltd.trolley:motion) and BKV Ltd.


Long live the trolleybus system of Budapest!


Photo: BKV Ltd.

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