Home Home Home

University may begin testing new kind of on-demand transit system

November 2, 2016

Passengers could be trying out a new urban mobility system on the University of Michigan's North Campus as soon as summer 2017. 

Its creators say it could deliver riders to their destinations in as little as half the time of the existing bus system at a lower cost, eventually using a fleet of autonomous shared vehicles. The limited test deployment would likely mark the world's first on-the-ground implementation of such a system. 

Called Reinventing Public Urban Transportation and Mobility — or RITMO for short — the proposed system mashes up aspects of Uber-style ridesharing, fixed-route buses and light rail into a single system called "hub-and-shuttle." 

It would combine high-frequency buses serving the busiest transportation hubs with a fleet of about 50 on-demand shared shuttles to get riders to and from those hubs. 

The on-demand vehicles would have human drivers at first, but the designers hope they would eventually be replaced with autonomous vehicles, lowering costs further, says RITMO lead researcher Pascal Van Hentenryck, the Seth Bonder Collegiate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering.

UMTRI is one of many departments involved in the project.

Read the full article in the University Record.