Cities Increasingly Piloting Autonomous Shuttle Services
Chris Teale surveys the landscape of automated shuttle pilots around the United States and finds a significant number of case studies to choose from.
"Cities including Detroit, Denver, Columbus, OH and Las Vegas have already piloted autonomous shuttle buses, which typically carry 10 people or less on a fixed route through a section of their downtowns," according to Teale.
"Meanwhile, the likes of Providence, RI, Orlando, FL and New York City are set to launch their own service in the coming months, with companies like May Mobility and Optimus Ride among the partners to provide the shuttle technology."
According to Teale, the adoption of autonomous shuttles is widespread enough to start evaluating for lessons on the impact of the services on public transit, the broader urban transportation system, and public perception of autonomous vehicles.
Teale also notes that many autonomous shuttle programs have encountered challenges. "Las Vegas’ pilot program garnered some negative publicity after a minor accident when a delivery truck backed into one of its shuttles," for instance, and "Denver struggled with one of those winter storms just a few months after its Regional Transportation District (RTD) transit agency and its partners launched the shuttle near a commuter rail station and a new development."
Teale also visits the example of Ann Arbor, where autonomous shuttles operates on campus at the University of Michigan. The university already released a report on how to launch a driverless shuttle with lessons specifically about the city's streets and transportation system.