Brussels transport gets overhaul, courtesy of teenagers

(EurActiv, 16 May 2019) Brussels is well known for its chocolate, its variety of beers, its art-deco buildings… and its traffic jams. High school students from all around Europe have now presented their proposals to make the city’s mobility system more sustainable, thanks to the Sci-tech challenge.

The Sci-Tech Challenge is designed to motivate teenage students to consider a STEM-oriented career (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Hundreds of young people from all corners of Europe took part this year.

But there could only be one winner. ‘Brumsels’, a project designed by Italian high-school students Federico, Ramya, Eleonora, Matteo and Gaetano, got the nod from the jury after a final chance to present their project in Brussels on Wednesday (15 May).

‘Brumsels’ aims to provide “a more efficient organisation of public services, especially by exploiting innovative technologies and vehicles that currently are not present on the market,” the students explained.

They proposed to do so by closing the city centre to non-electric vehicles,  providing new alternative transports such as ‘podbikes’, replacing half of the current bus fleet with electric vehicles and introducing supercapacitor technology in tramways.

Trams with supercapacitors would only have to carry enough charge to make it to the next stop, where the vehicle would be recharged extremely quickly. That has advantages over batteries, as space and weight would be saved, and the cumbersome overhead cables would be gone.

The Italian students also aim to make public transport more user-friendly. In order to do so, they proposed to create an app that would allow you to plan your movements, but also pay for the ticket, no matter what means of transport you chose.

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EurActiv, 16 May 2019: Brussels transport gets overhaul, courtesy of teenagers