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Infrastructure firm and US agencies form automated bus consortium

It will investigate the feasibility of implementing pilot automated bus projects across the US as well as collaborate on decision-making and combine purchasing power.

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The consortium wants to shape the future of commuter bus transportation
The consortium wants to shape the future of commuter bus transportation

An association of transit and transportation agencies has established the Automated Bus Consortium, to collaborate on and investigate the feasibility of implementing pilot automated bus projects across the US.

 

Pilot projects will use full-sized, full-speed buses and enable consortium members to collectively demonstrate and deploy automated technologies in live service environments.

 

Combined strength

 

Formed by integrated infrastructure firm, Aecom, the consortium will seek to combine the purchasing power and collaborative decision-making of its founding transit agencies nationwide.

 

Founding members of the consortium include: Dallas Area Rapid Transit; Foothill Transit; Long Beach Transit (LBT); Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro); MetroLink (Moline); Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority; Michigan Department of Transportation/ Michigan’s mobility initiative, PlanetM; Minnesota Department of Transportation/Rochester Public Transit (MnDOT); Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority; and Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation/Hampton Roads Transit.

 

Consortium members will define candidate deployment routes and locations, operating plans, automated bus specifications, financial plans and deployment strategies, and will make an expected initial purchase of 75- to 100 full-sized, automated buses.

It is anticipated that by joining the consortium, the cost of conducting local automated bus projects will be reduced for each agency

Aecom will manage the planning, assessment, implementation and evaluation of the programme’s roll-out in all locations.

 

It is anticipated that by joining the consortium, the cost of conducting local automated bus projects will be reduced for each agency. Lessons learned and best practices from each pilot project will be shared among member agencies to promote better and faster learning and adoption of safety protocols and operational insights.

 

Aecom will host an industry forum in Detroit, Michigan, in September, to create and facilitate opportunities for members to meet technology companies and bus manufacturers to discuss the development of programme specifications for automated buses for each region’s pilot project.

 

The consortium’s plan calls for a 12-month feasibility phase, followed by implementation within a two-year time frame, currently estimated to begin between 2021 and 2022.

 

Each agency will make their own decisions regarding future additional automated bus purchases and deployment following the completion of the feasibility phase.

 

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