11 June 2019
Consortium of US cities to acquire and pilot autonomous buses
In an effort to ease the burden on individual cities in adopting new mobility technology, a group of transport agencies in over ten U.S. cities have banded together to form a consortium to manage the acquisition of 75-100 autonomous buses over the next two years. The Automated Bus Consortium (AECOM) will begin by assessing the feasibility of implementing autonomous bus pilots in the member cities before proceeding to the implementation of projects, providing they prove feasible. These projects will use full-sized, full-speed buses in live service environments, setting them apart from a host of pilots which have explored the use of autonomous technology through the deployment of shuttles in small, dedicated areas.
The assessments will be conducted by AECOM as well as managing the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the projects in all locations. In addition to easing the management burden on local agencies and reducing the cost of individual acquisitions by making purchases in bulk, the consortium also affords cities the opportunity to share best practices and iteratively develop the final system. Following a 12-month feasibility assessment, the projects will be implemented within a two-year period beginning in 2021-2022 with individual cities making the final decision on when and to what extent to deploy automated buses.