Volume X / 2021
The University of Texas at Arlington | College of Engineering

Driverless Transportation Pilot Program

A team led by civil engineering Assistant Professor Sherri Kermanshachi launched a new public transportation pilot program in Arlington that features autonomous vehicles.

The project, which began in March 2021, is part of a $1.7 million Federal Transportation Administration grant to the city of Arlington. A portion of the funding is providing 20,000 free rides for UTA students in autonomous vehicles. The researchers are analyzing the resulting ridership data to reveal potential gaps in service, service hours, zone boundaries, consistency of wait times, and infrastructure issues such as bus shelters and sidewalks. They are also investigating demographic data with equity impacts.

The goal is to provide a blueprint for combining autonomous vehicles and mobility-on-demand technologies to develop more effective, efficient, safe, and accessible transit networks in low-density settings where traditional fixed-route transit is impractical.

The city is working with UTA; Via, an on-demand rideshare program; and May Mobility, which provided and operates the project’s autonomous vehicles.