Monday, 29 March 2021 20:13

Arlington, TX, Launches On-Demand Self-Driving Shuttle Service

Written by Susan Schrock, City of Arlington Office of Communications


...the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars are also contributing to the project.


“The research is focused on assessing and comparing rider perceptions before, during and after the RAPID project to examine potential gaps in existing and new services, recommend strategies to overcome potential challenges of the AV system and remove adoption barriers for an enhanced ridership experience,” said Sharareh Kermanshachi, principal investigator for the research team.


Once a ride is booked, riders will be given instructions to walk up to one or two blocks from their location to a convenient pick up location, providing truly on-demand service with autonomous vehicles when and where riders wish to travel.


“Downtown Arlington is the perfect place for demonstrating the proven technology and rider benefits of RAPID,” said Maggie Campbell, president and CEO of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation. “Downtown Arlington measures only about one square mile but has an abundance of small and medium-sized businesses, popular locally-owned restaurants, cultural destinations, residential communities, plus UT Arlington along the southern edge.


"All these assets generate strong demand for hyper-local movement within our district, particularly during the day. Commuters and locals alike want on-demand mobility to go to lunch, host meetings at different venues, grab coffee or meet friends after work. They also want to park and re-park as little as possible, and they are savvy users of on-demand and rideshare technology. Downtown Arlington is ready to take RAPID for a ride!”


Via and RAPID riders are required to wear face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, per Federal Transit Administration orders. A number of health safety features are present in the RAPID vehicles, including a partition between the attendant and passenger areas, daily deep cleaning and mask requirements consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FTA regulations. The number of passengers in the vehicles at one time can also be limited to allow social distancing, consistent with the current approach on the city’s Via service.


As part of its ongoing efforts to "Enhance Regional Mobility and Put Technology to Work," Arlington has already managed two successful autonomous vehicle deployments.


The Milo off-street pilot program with EasyMile was conducted from August 2017 to August 2018, and the on-street pilot program with drive.ai vehicles was conducted from October 2018 to May 2019.


In 2020, the City of Arlington was awarded a $1.7 million grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program to integrate autonomous vehicles into the Via on-demand rideshare service. Arlington RAPID was one of 25 projects in the country to receive funding under the program, which supports projects that use innovative technologies and processes to improve access to public transportation, increase public transportation efficiency and enhance the overall rider experience.


Source: City of Arlington


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