Self-driving shuttle program planned for NJ city

GettyImages/ Flavio Coelho

The Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System Project aims to bring 100 self-driving electric shuttles to the state capital’s 90,000 residents.

New Jersey plans to build an electric, autonomous-vehicle-based urban transit system, the first of its kind in the U.S.

According to a request for information, the Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES) Project aims to bring 100 self-driving electric shuttles to the state capital’s 90,000 residents to address an issue affecting cities across the country.

Trenton’s system will be designed to serve the 70% of households that do not have access to a car and have limited public transportation options. According to the RFI, the GPS-equipped vehicles would be able to transport between four and eight passengers, who would call for a ride from a smartphone app or one of the 60 kiosks to be installed.

The vehicles will feature internal live cameras, smoke and fire detectors, child safety seats and be easily accessible for riders with mobility issues. They will retain two-way communication with a central operations center, and their locations would be monitored by public safety organizations. During the first two years of operation, the shuttles would have a “safety host” on board.

City officials are working with neighboring Princeton University to facilitate the gathering of information; before full deployment, the project will undergo detailed planning and testing. Responses from interested parties are due to the N.J. Transportation Department by Feb. 11.

“The Trenton MOVES project … will attract tech talent from around the country and the world with the mission of creating an autonomous vehicle-based transit system in our capital that will provide a new, affordable transportation solution for underserved areas of Trenton,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “This is an exciting project with immense potential and I look forward to the day that the first vehicle hits the road.”

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