Safety-oriented driver training in Coimbra

Basic Information

Mobility solution ID






The measure consists of the implementation of a Driving Centre at the Municipal Public Transportation Services of Coimbra (SMTUC) equipped with a high tech driving simulator tailored to the specific public transport vehicle requirements and in accordance with the European Directive 2003/59.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Heavy vehicles, such as buses, vans and trucks, not only have a major environmental impact, when involved in a collision, they have the potential to do great damage to property and human lives. Ensuring that drivers in control of such vehicles have the necessary skills to avoid such instances is of key importance. Making sure that their driving is as energy efficient as possible is good news for the city’s environment, as well as for the balance sheet of the operator.

The main objectives of this measure are:

  • Establish a modern training centre, equipped with a state of the art driving simulator
  • Create a safer driving style among heavy vehicle drivers


SMTUC have founded a Safety Oriented Driving Training Centre which allows them to instruct their bus drivers and other public transportation drivers on safety and ecologically oriented driving.

The Centre has a high tech driving simulator installed in early 2012. The simulator allows SMTUC and other operators to comply with European Directive 2003/59 and provide continued training in public transportation vehicles, reinforcing eco-driving.

The training carried out at the Safety Oriented Driving Training Centre is extensive and includes training for instructors. The high tech simulator gives bus drivers in Coimbra and its surrounding region access to the most innovative training methods available. Using the simulator allows for the following innovative outcomes:

• Simulate real vehicle dimensions and gear;
• Real time dynamic reactions to driving conditions;
• Virtual simulation of real driving conditions with high graphic quality, including trolleybus simulation;
• Data storage of driver simulation for analysis and evaluation;
• Provide initial and continued training.


An initial reference group of 25 SMTUC drivers was set up and trained using the simulator in order to evaluate the impacts of the driving training sessions. Th key results obtained were:


  • The training using driving simulators led to a 15% reduction in the average operating costs when compared with the training using real buses (from 3,41 €/vkm to 2,90 €/vkm).
  • During the driving training sessions using the simulator, a substantial improvement of the average fuel efficiency in mixed circuit was observed, corresponding to a 15% reduction in terms of energy consumption per vkm.
  • Using a driving training simulator instead of diesel vehicles in real operational conditions has a significant impact on the average emissions per vkm (-19% of CO2, -85% of NOx and -93% of CO).
  • The driving training simulator can help improve transport safety in terms of accident risk. By considering the same circuit and travelling distance covered during two driving sessions in the simulator made before and after the training resulted in a 33% reduction of the total number of incidents.

The functioning of the Driving Centre will continue in the future. A process of licensing the driving centre for the training of PT drivers from other companies is in course and partnerships with some specialised organisations are presently under consideration.


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