Designing an Autonomous Service to Cover Transit Last Mile in Low-Density Areas

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  04/15/2024


Public transportation is a safe, affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to individual vehicles. Outside of densely populated urban settings, however, land use patterns can challenge public transit effectiveness. Limited transit stops and network coverage necessitate walking or other transport modes, potentially in unsafe conditions. An autonomous mobility-on-demand (AMoD) service could help passengers get from the end of a transit line to their destination. An AMoD system uses a fleet of autonomous vehicles to pick up passengers and transport them to a destination. Using modeling and algorithms, researchers designed an AMoD service for a large, vehicle-oriented suburban shopping area. A simulation of the system revealed its potential to increase transit efficiency and demand, resulting in reduced individual vehicle use. Additional research and possible demonstration or pilot projects could move AMoD closer to implementation.

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