First Transit Announces Shared Autonomous Vehicle Pilot with METRO Houston and Texas Southern University
HOUSTON – First Transit announces a shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) pilot with METRO Houston and Texas Southern University (TSU). This is the eighth SAV initiative for First Transit and the first-of-its-kind in the region.
METRO Houston is introducing the University District Circulator on the campus of TSU. An EasyMile SAV shuttle will travel on the Tiger Walk, a one-mile pedestrian walking loop, providing connection to multiple points and buildings on campus for students and faculty. The SAV passenger shuttle can carry up to 12 passengers and is designed to travel using a pre-programmed route, equipped with a sensor and intelligent vehicle system to detect obstacles and avoid collisions.
First Transit is providing onboard customer service agents for the SAV passenger shuttles, system and project management, and maintenance operations.
“We are proud of expanding our more than 20-year relationship with METRO Houston,” said Justin Pate, senior vice president of global business development and marketing for First Transit. “As the transportation solution provider to more than 30 universities, this partnership with METRO Houston and TSU allows us to continue to enhance the rider experience, adoption, and education of SAV mobility solutions.
Texas Southern University is one of the nation’s largest historically black colleges and universities. TSU offers over 120 baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degree programs in nine schools and colleges and has nearly 10,000 students.
The University District Circulator pilot will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. and is open to university students, staff and visitors. Everyone is required to sign a consent form before riding.
About First Transit:
First Transit, Inc. has 60 years of experience and is one of the largest private-sector providers of mobility solutions in North America moving more than 350 million passengers annually. First Transit, Inc. provides operation, management and consulting for more than 300 locations in 39 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Panama and India for transit authorities, state departments of transportation, municipalities, hospitals, universities and private companies. First Transit employs more than 19,500 dedicated transit professionals. For additional information, please visit FirstTransit.com.
About METRO Houston:
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses on METRO’s network, METRORail's system includes the Red Line (Main Street and Northline), Green Line (East End) and Purple Line (Southeast). METRO’s services also include: STAR Vanpool, METROLift, HOV/HOT lanes, Bike & Ride program, Park & Ride, and road improvement projects. Learn more about METRO services at ridemetro.org where you will also find useful tools like the RideMETRO app where you can plan your trip and even pay your fare from your phone.
EasyMile is a pioneer in autonomous vehicle technology and smart mobility solutions. The fast-growing company develops software to automate transportation, revolutionizing passenger and goods transportation. It has already deployed 230 driverless projects with more than 380,000 people transported over 600,000 kilometers. Clients include the world’s largest transport operators, city authorities, airports, corporations, business parks, and universities. EasyMile has a global presence with headquarters in Toulouse (France) and regional offices in Denver (USA), Berlin (Germany), Adelaide (Australia) and Singapore. The company employs over 170 highly-skilled and passionate employees.