Bulgaria’s Buses Get Digital

The city of Sofia in Bulgaria recently announced a pilot project for a digital system to be installed on city’s buses. The system will gather information about traffic, road infrastructure, potholes, street signage, garbage cans, and street markings.

Two city buses will be equipped with front-mounted cameras that are capable of creating Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Every time the buses pass along their routes, they will rescan their surroundings and update the GIS to provide an evolving picture of the city’s infrastructure. To enhance traffic safety, the cameras can also emit proximity signals alerting drivers when they get too close to a pedestrian, street sign, or another vehicle.

The city’s Deputy Mayor for Finance, Healthcare and Transport, Doncho Barbalov, stated that since the systems were deployed they have already reported irregularities in the road infrastructure. During the trial run on one of the main boulevards in Sofia, the buses registered five collisions with pedestrians – two of which turned out to be related to faulty railings. Bus drivers have stated that they feel more confident while doing their job, as the cameras provide them legal protection and an additional safety layer through the signaling options.

Sofia was chosen as the “smart city” of the year for Southeast Europe in 2022, and also as one of four cities- alongside Brussels, Dublin and Tirana – to develop the European Union’s Digital Rights Management Framework. Sofia also ranks as a city leader in the European Mission for Carbon-Neutral and Smart Cities until the year 2030.