June 2021 Tech Updates

  • Author: Kevin Chambers
  • Date: June 28, 2021

This month’s tech updates include maturing low-speed AV shuttle projects, EVs in the bipartisan infrastructure proposal, and the speed of MaaS development, and data standards for the win.

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous shuttles still face tech, regulatory barriers to permanent adoption by Chris Teale, Smart Cities Dive
“Low-speed shuttle pilot projects have had some success, including some innovative adaptations during the pandemic, but AVs are still many years from wide adoption.”

AV Transit Projects Are Evolving to Full-Scale Deployments by Skip Descant, GovTech
“Expect to see more low-speed, autonomous shuttle projects developing into full-scale integrated transit services. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority in Florida plans to launch the first phase of AV shuttles into its transit mix by 2023.”

Self-Driving Cars Could Be Decades Away, No Matter What Elon Musk Said by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal
“Even those who have hyped this technology most—in 2019 Mr. Musk doubled down on previous predictions, and said that autonomous Tesla robotaxis would debut by 2020—are beginning to admit publicly that naysaying experts may have a point.”

Cruise Gets $5 Billion From GM to Start Production of Its Origin Robotaxis by Florina Spînu, autoevolution
“Cruise, a majority-owned subsidiary of General Motors, secured the bag with an investment of $5 billion from GM’s financial arm. Now we can finally see autonomous Origin vehicles start to roll off the assembly line.”

Autonomous buses debut in Yellowstone by Mike Koshmrl, Wyoming News Exchange
“The purpose of this deployment is to test the technology in a national park,” Yellowstone visitor use management coordinator Christina White said. “For that reason, we’ll be operating on two different routes this summer.”

STUDY: AV Taxis Would Speed Up Climate Change by Kea Wilson, StreetsBlogUSA
“According to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, if an autonomous taxi were made available tomorrow, residents of the Athens of the Midwest would choose it over a bus, bike, or personal car in 31 percent of randomized travel scenarios.”

FedEx, Nuro sign multi-year deal to test autonomous last-mile delivery by Edwin Lopez, Smart Cities Dive
“FedEx’s partnership with Nuro signals the company is looking to solve the last-mile problem by working with partners to identify specific solutions for each use case, rather than through a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Vehicle Electrification

U.S. infrastructure deal would fund electric buses, charging stations by David Shepardson, Reuters
“A bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework does not contain new money for electric vehicle rebates but would spend $15 billion to boost EV charging stations and buy electric school and transit buses, the White House said in a fact sheet.”

NJ Transit commits to transitioning to zero-emission fleet by 2040 by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Mass Transit
“New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) will aim to have a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040 and has unveiled a roadmap to help achieve this goal.”

TRB Webinar: Public Transit as a Climate Solution, Wednesday, July 21, from 1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern
The webinar “will explore how to incorporate transit as a climate solution. Presenters will explain the sustainability benefits of public transportation, including a reduced carbon footprint and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. They will also provide tools transit agencies can use to plan low-carbon transportation solutions.”

E-Fare

Tackling Social Inequity, Some Cities May Ditch Bus, Subway Fares by Jenni Bergal, PEW
“Across the country, some transit agencies and cities are considering scrapping or reducing fares, at least for low-income riders, to ensure access for disadvantaged communities. The moves come after the pandemic highlighted transit inequities, as the majority of those who continued to ride buses and trains were lower-income essential workers, often people of color.”

What Happens When Cash Fares Are Eliminated? by Cinnamon Janzer, Next City
“results seem to point to accepting cash everywhere as the best way to go. But transit providers see drawbacks to that approach. Because the costs of handling cash and picking it up from various locations isn’t insignificant, Golub’s research analyzed how much it cost to implement the various mitigation efforts.”

How France is testing free public transport by Peter Yeung, BBC
“Now there’s a ‘new wave’ of support for the idea of free transport in France, ‘based on creating more sustainable, green networks that help communities most in need’, says Passalacqua. ‘Because of that larger cities are beginning to implement it.'”

Mobility as a Service and New Mobility

Piia Karjalainen: MaaS speed ‘quite surprising’ by Adam Hill, ITS International
“The need for greener transport solutions has made international policymakers more receptive to the concept of Mobility as a Service. […] Karjalainen says she found policymakers receptive to the idea and thinks the speed with which MaaS has built up credibility as a transportation option is ‘quite surprising’.”

The Guide to Open Mobility-as-a-Service by Transit App
“How cities, transit agencies, and companies are using MaaS data standards to rewrite the rules of app-based transportation”

Other Noteworthy Transit Technology News

Tracking Transit Equity in US Cities by Transit Center
“This dashboard measures how well transit networks in seven U.S. cities connect people who’ve been marginalized within those metro areas to the jobs, services, and amenities they need to thrive.”

Moovit calls on its community to report crowding levels on public transport by SmartCitiesWorld
“The mobility-as-a-service solutions provider is enabling riders in 3,400 cities across 112 countries to help one another avoid the crowds as restrictions ease and public transport usage increases.”

We’d love to hear from you!

Have more mobility news that we should be reading and sharing? Let us know! Reach out to Kirby Wilhelm (wilhelm@ctaa.org).