Monday, 01 October 2018 16:19

Autonomous Mobility Initiative Created To Test Grand Rapids, MI, Readiness


Nine Michigan companies and the city of Grand Rapids have come together to form a unique coalition that will place autonomous vehicles on city streets in March 2019.


The Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative is the next big step to prove that civic infrastructure can support the ever-evolving, ever-expanding operational capabilities of the rapidly approaching autonomous vehicle market.


The Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative will bring four May Mobility six-seat, electric shuttles to the streets of downtown Grand Rapids from March 2019 --March 2020. This first-of-its-kind coalition brings together enterprise and infrastructure to gather and analyze critical information to understand the usage of autonomous vehicles and their environments. The fleet will operate complementary to the city’s existing DASH transportation fleet. Shuttles will be free for riders.


Consisting of internationally renowned companies including May Mobility, Consumers Energy, Faurecia, Gentex, Rockford Construction, Seamless and Steelcase, and public organizations including the city of Grand Rapids and Start Garden, the coalition supporting the Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative includes the people who design and build the environments in which we live, work and move every day.


“The city of Grand Rapids is the best, real-world testing ground for new and future mobility technologies, and our city is proving that today with this unique public-private mobility partnership,” said Josh Naramore, the city’s Mobile GR Parking Services manager. “Grand Rapids has a long history of bringing together urban planning and applied innovation to create a city that works for all people, including residents, visitors and business alike.”


The Grand Rapids Autonomous Mobility Initiative will operate on a 3.2-mile section of the city’s existing DASH West bus route, which provides access to both downtown Grand Rapids and the city’s West Side and Heartside business districts. The route includes 22 stops, 30 traffic lights and 12 turns, including three left turns. As a commuter-driven service, the DASH West provides connectivity to more than 10 city-owned parking lots and points of interest that include: David D. Hunting YMCA, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Van Andel Arena and Bridge Street Market.

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