Tunnll accepted into Microsoft for Startups program

Spain / Sweden / UK, October 2018 — Tunnllan international smart transportation systems startup, was approved for Microsoft for Startups, an exclusive program that delivers best-in-market cloud services to the top startups in the world. 

Microsoft for Startups was designed to replace the BizSpark program and to provide startups with Microsoft Azure cloud service credits and sales support. Azure is not only important in building reliable IT infrastructures for early-stage startups but is also used by large companies such as GEVolvo3M or NBC.

According to Charlotte YarkoniMicrosoft’s Corporate Vice President of Growth and Ecosystems, “the program provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem.”

Microsoft for Startups will continue enabling Tunnll to build its IT infrastructure and to communicate efficiently with passengers and partners. The industry leader for disruptive innovation for enterprise will also benefit from the partnership by boosting its cloud computing services through the growth of the startups accepted into program.

Tunnll is confident that its participation in the new Microsoft startup program will continue to reinforce the company’s position within the innovation industry and contribute towards its success.

On the road with Tunnll’s drivers

The benefits in using Tunnll’s technology tend to be associated with public transport networks in small cities or the improvement in the quality of life for its citizens. There is, however, another segment that greatly benefits from the increase in efficiency Tunnll brings to public transport: drivers. 

We took some time to sit down with Francisco and Mari Carmen, our drivers during our La Bisbal del Penedès pilot project, and asked them a few questions. We were interested in understanding the main differences between Tunnll and previous transport operators they had worked with and, of course, what improvements they considered Tunnll had brought to the town’s public transport.  

Tunnll’s technology is mainly felt by those using the service to get to their destinations, but what about those behind the wheel? The first thing we asked the two people responsible for making sure our passengers got quickly and safely to their destination was to compare Tunnll with their past experiences and in what way the technology helped them in their day-to-day.

“You can’t, really. All the other companies I’ve worked with were bus companies that moved passengers from one stop to another, on a predetermined schedule. Tunnll is different in the sense that it’s a software company that also happens to operate buses. The service is a lot more flexible, dynamic and focused on the passenger instead of the route.”

“If I compare it with my past experiences, the best thing is that while driving Tunnll’s passengers you constantly feel like you are adapting to the actual needs of the town. Tunnll processes all its passenger data in real-time and constantly improves the existing network giving us, drivers, the information we need to be more efficient. This makes you feel a lot more valued by your passengers since you’re almost an extension of the user interface. Tunnll was also very involved during the pilot at La Bisbal del Penedès and made sure all drivers were briefed and supported throughout the day.”

Moving to the quality of life improvements Tunnll brought to La Bisbal del Penedès citizens, both drivers were categorical:

“The main benefit for passengers is how convenient it is when you compare it to regular public transportation. With Tunnll, you can order a bus anytime, wherever you are in town. No walking to bus stops or waiting in line. No having to check when the next bus is coming and no walking to your destination since you get dropped right at the door. It really does increase the quality of life for passengers moving around town.”

Finally, we wanted to go over the results for our first Spanish pilot program. More specifically, if Tunnll had improved public transportation significantly in La Bisbal del Penedès. 

“Absolutely. Before Tunnll, some passengers had to wait an hour for their bus so a system that keeps adjusting to their needs can really make a difference. You can really feel it as a driver.”

“You’re constantly picking up new passengers and dropping them exactly where they need to go. Tunnll’s booking system is also very easy to use and extremely convenient. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people using the service to commute to work or school every day”

Francisco’s and Mari Carmen’s experiences helped us demonstrate how Tunnll’s technology can be used to improve the public transport networks in La Bisbal del Penedès and other towns around the world. We’re thankful for their part in making our first Spanish pilot program a success. 

Tunnll’s role in an environmentally sustainable future

Tunnll recently concluded its first Spanish pilot program at La Bisbal del Penedès and demonstrated the startup’s potential for improving public transportation in small cities. However, it also brought up one of the important aspects in its mission that often gets overlooked; the potential for social impact through climate action. 

Transportation, whether we like it or not, sticks out like a sore thumb when tackling climate change and discussing its solutions. The industry’s impact on gas emissions is undeniable with personal vehicles accounting for nearly one-fifth of carbon emissions in the US. In total, the US transportation system accounts for nearly thirty percent of all global warming emissions in the country [1] making it the leading industry in a scoreboard nobody wants to top. In the EU, the situation isn’t much different with transport representing almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse emissions and being the main source of air pollution in cities. Road transport is by far the biggest emitter in the sector, accounting for more than 70% of all GHG transport emissions [2]. To make things worse, with an ever-growing global population comes ever-growing transportation demands and approaching the problem with standard solutions is bound to fail. 

Albert Einstein once said, “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. This still holds true today and gains a whole new importance when any effort to reduce global warming needs to necessarily come through innovation. With transportation being one of the industries at the core of carbon emissions, companies like Tunnll can really make a difference – to reduce any negative environmental impact through the sustainable use of resources and to allow hundreds of small cities around the world satisfy their transportation needs.  

In fact, when we think of clean transportation solutions we think of clean fuels, fuel-efficient vehicles or electric cars and don’t get us wrong, these solutions do have a lot of potential for positive impact. However, they also depend on existing infrastructures, technology or, in the case of crowdsourced services, large population hubs. Small cities, because of lower populations or because they must wait in line for infrastructural improvements, are often left out of these discussions with no options to reduce their carbon footprint or satisfy passenger demand. But the issues with transportation are not exclusive to climate change. Replacing every car in the world with an electric, autonomous or on-demand personal vehicle won’t solve the problem of space or congestion during peak hours, something public transport is extremely proficient at tackling.   

This means that despite not being the least pollutant or the most fuel-efficient type of transportation, public transport offers the most efficient way of transporting passengers per unit of space. Considering the current occupancy rate, a full bus load of passengers can take up to 40 cars off the road and some reports have stated that a full shift from personal to public transport could reduce carbon emissions up to 65% during peak and 95% during off peak hours [3]. This is exactly where Tunnll, with the help of partners like EIT Climate-KIC Spain, can help. 

With its smart transportation system and its ability to adapt to passenger demand Tunnll is not only able to quickly adjust to the town’s needs but also make sure active buses are never bunched up together, run empty or slow down near empty bus stops. This ultimately leads to an improved public transportation network with a much more efficient uptime and consequently less carbon emissions and better air quality standards. Tunnll also encourages public transportation by tackling public transport’s “last mile problem”. With dynamic bus stops there are no more difficulties getting to and from nodes with your groceries or in bad weather. Less cars on the road means more efficient buses and a smaller carbon footprint for the whole town. 

Tunnll isn’t the one and only way to tackle climate change or the only source of positive climate action. What it does, is make sure that towns that rely heavily on standard public transport have a solution for their transportation demands while being able to reduce their carbon footprint through technology and innovation.  

Powered by Climate-KIC Spain
Powered by Climate-KIC Spain

[1] UCUSA https://www.ucsusa.org
[2] European Commission, Energy Climate Change, Environment, EU Climate Action – “A European Strategy for Low
Emission Mobility”  
[3] Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, 2010, Long Term Projections of Australian Transport Emissions, Report for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Canberra.

Tunnll at Smart City Expo 2018, Japan

Spain / Sweden / UK October 2018 – Tunnll, an international smart transportation systems startup, was amongst the top 3 most promising startups invited to participate at Smart City Expo 2018, in Japan.

Tunnll’s presence at the event was organised by Barcelona Activa, ATR and the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo and allowed the company to demonstrate the social impact and efficiency of its next-gen public transportation system for smart cities.

CEO Kirill Blazhko was recently featured in an article authored by Carlos Manzano for Spanish newspaper El Llobregat where he described how the company’s smart mobility system can optimise public transport within small cities. The article covers a range of other topics such as the differences between Tunnll and other on demand transportation apps and Tunnll’s first trial in Spain, at La Bisbal del Penedès. We recommend you read the article’s full version, in Spanish, at “El Llobregat: El Baix viaja a Japón de la mano de Tunnll”.

The trial comes after an initial test in Härnösand, Sweden through a pilot program in collaboration with Björks & Byberg and Malmö University and approved by Swedish government agency for innovation, Vinnova.

Tunnll’s attendance at Smart City Expo 2018 follows several successful results in 2017 with the first place at the IoT Innovation World Cup and the recognition by the European Commission as one of the top proposals for Transport and Mobility Solutions.