Arlington Receives Federal Grant, Aims to Launch New AV Rideshare Service Next Year
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on May 01, 2020, May 01, 2020

May vehicle

As soon as next spring, Via Rideshare customers could be picked up in self-driving vehicles for trips around Downtown and The University of Texas at Arlington.

The City of Arlington was recently awarded a $1.7 million grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program to integrate autonomous vehicles into its on-demand rideshare service. This one-year pilot program, called Arlington RAPID (Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration), is set to begin in March 2021. Through its partnership with Via, May Mobility and UTA, the City also plans to add a wheelchair-accessible autonomous vehicle as well as provide a limited number of free rides to university students during the pilot program.

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.

“The City of Arlington has established itself as a national leader on autonomous vehicle testing and deployment,” said Ann Foss, principal planner with the City’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. “The FTA Integrated Mobility Innovation grant will allow the City to build on our AV knowledge and success, coupled with our successful existing Via rideshare service, to improve mobility and access for all residents and visitors in Arlington.”

The Integrated Mobility Innovation Program supports projects that use innovative technologies and processes to improve access to public transportation, increase public transportation efficiency, and enhance the overall rider experience. Arlington RAPID was one of 25 projects in the country to receive funding under the program.

"These $20.3 million in federal grants will help communities nationwide enhance their transportation systems to make it easier for people to use transit, especially older adults and people with disabilities," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

More details about Arlington RAPID pilot program will be announced later this year. The autonomous vehicles will operate on the Via platform, so riders will book and pay for rides through the existing Via platform. If the ride parameters fit the operating area and the passenger opts in, an autonomous vehicle will be dispatched to complete the ride, instead of one of the standard Via vans.

Click here for more information about the Via rideshare program.

Put Technology To Work, Enhance Regional Mobility
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