Public sector accelerates vehicle automation
- By Susan Miller
- Jan 08, 2020
Automating public transit
State and local transportation agencies evaluating automated transit options can learn from other cities' early implementations. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) describes three use cases:
- In Phoenix, Ariz., Valley Metro partnered with Waymo to increase access to transit through on-demand rides in the company's automated vehicles to first/last-mile connections to transit stops, transit centers and park-and-ride lots.
- Pierce Transit in Washington State participated in an 18-month project testing the potential of the Mobileye Shield+ collision avoidance warning system on transit buses to reduce the frequency and severity of bus accidents.
- In Jacksonville, Fla., the “Ultimate Urban Circulator” was designed to modernize the Jacksonville Skyway (an automated people mover), including modifying the existing elevated track and replacing the existing vehicles with automated vehicles.
FTA has also published a guide, "Considerations for Evaluating Automated Transit Bus Programs," designed to assist transit stakeholders with designing and implementing evaluations of automated transit-bus programs. Read the guide here.
As part of its Connected Vehicle Project, New York City's Department of Transportation will deploy Savari's SmartCross, which helps people with impairments cross streets more safely. The system provides information regarding the intersection geometry and traffic light status to pedestrians who may otherwise be distracted. It can also alert vehicle-to-infrastructure and V2V-enabled vehicles of potential conflict with pedestrians. Initially developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the mobile phone app and the Savari cloud software is fully integrated into the city's traffic management systems. More info here.
Convenience and safety
Las Vegas commuters can now take advantage of a new feature in Uber that allows them to purchase public transit passes through the ride hailing app. A partnership between the mobility company and Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada gives passengers another option for buying transit passes, making it easier for people to plan a cost-effective and time-efficient commute via transit and rideshare services, officials said.
RTC is also using data from connected vehicles for insights into road safety, congestion management and intersection performance. RTC's Traffic Management Center is using Waycare's platform, which analyzes real-time, anonymous connected vehicle data from thousands of cars to identify potentially hazardous situations. It gives transportation managers better data for investigating and quickly responding to incidents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is looking for feedback on a challenge to spur design solutions that allow persons with physical, sensory and/or cognitive disabilities to take advantage of automated vehicles and reduce the cost of retrofitting AVs for use by persons with disabilities. DOT expects the $5 million challenge to address the vehicles themselves and how AV users with disabilities use the technology, including locating an AV, entering and exiting the vehicle, exchanging identity, payment and destination data along with a number of other safety considerations. More info here.
Meanwhile, the Oakland, Calif., Department of Transportation has partnered with shared-mobility service provider Lime to launch the first-ever e-scooter pilot program for riders with disabilities. The pilot features an e-scooter intended for riders who are not comfortable or unable to stand for a long time and/or have limited capacity for walking. More here.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has assembled a database with up-to-date information about autonomous vehicle bills that have been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Users can search the 2017-2018 legislation by state, topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor. Check out the database here.
Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.
Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.
Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.
Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.