Skip Navigation Links
Front Page
About GNSExpand About GNS
Business/Industry
CommunitiesExpand Communities
EducationExpand Education
Entertainment
Links Directory
Maritime
Medicine & Science
Opinion/ForumExpand Opinion/Forum
Public Safety
Transportation
Weather


Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Transportation
METRO Board Gives Automated Vehicle Pilot Green Light
News Release
Friday, April 27, 2018

Texas Southern University students may have another transportation option on campus in the fall semester: an autonomous shuttle. Today, METRO's Board of Directors gave the nod to the autonomous vehicle (AV) project, a first for the agency.  Although the low speed vehicle will drive itself, an operator will be on board at all times.  The pilot will take place along TSU's mile-long, famed Tiger Walk. Several members of the public spoke at the meeting in support of the project.

"We are so fortunate to be able to partner with Texas Southern to pilot this autonomous vehicle. The location is ideal and its transportation studies program provides the type of academic expertise needed. It also allows us to explore how this technology can be applied on a greater scale," said METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert.

Riders will not be charged to use the shuttle, which will be about the size of a minivan, similar to those used in Las Vegas and Arlington at AT&T Stadium.

"Our Texas Southern University family, led by President Dr. Austin Lane and Provost Dr. Kendall Harris,  is thrilled about the METRO decision today. Student, faculty and visitor access will be enhanced, especially for nighttime classes and activities," said Dr. Carol Lewis, professor and emeritus director of TSU's Center for Transportation Training & Research.

If successful, the project is designed to eventually extend the AV shuttle route to connect with METRORail and the Eastwood Transit Center.

METRO's Board approved spending up to $250,000 for the first phase. 

"The Board's action clears the way for us to request proposals from vendors and select a vehicle.  We are excited to begin studying how this could enhance our service overall," said Kimberly Williams, METRO's chief innovation officer.   

The pilot will help METRO study how autonomous vehicles could be used to improve first and last mile transit connections, as well as other uses in places, such as business parks and medical centers.

Along with METRO, the planning committee for the project includes Texas Southern University, the city of Houston, the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Houston District of the Texas Department of Transportation. 

"Our university transportation research center will work with the partners to assess a myriad of variables associated with AV operation, such as user acceptance, vehicle operation, accessibility for persons with disabilities and electrical utilization and recharging.  The university looks forward to contributing to the advancement of technologies for our Houston community," Dr. Lewis added. 

METRO was a key part of the application that helped Texas secure a designation as an AV proving ground by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2016.




Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
Remembering Jim Guidry


Guidry News Service is headquartered in Midtown Houston.
at 4001 Fannin Street, Suite 4109, Houston, TX. 77004-4077
(409) 763 NEWS(6397)         News@GuidryNews.com
© 1996, Guidry News Service. Duplication of any part of this website in any manner is prohibited.