Innovative Smart Transportation Infrastructure: Driverless Passenger Service
Autonomous Shuttles: Fusing New Transportation Technologies to Expand Citizens’ Mobility, Reduce Traffic Jams and Boost Air Quality in Downtown Lincoln, Nebraska
From Australia to Finland and other far-flung locales, automated microtransit shuttles have left their test tracks and started traversing urban streets as part of various city- or regional-government pilot programs worldwide. By summer 2018 the City of Lincoln, Nebraska also had caught the global “shuttle fever.” Lincoln was an ideal candidate for such shuttle services in its dual role as the state capitol and flagship location for the University of Nebraska and its famed Cornhuskers football team, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to town during the annual football season.
The City collaborated and partnered with HDR engineers on the two-year Lincoln Automated Vehicle/Connected Vehicle Microtransit Study; it culminated in a pilot autonomous shuttle ride program during summer 2018, in which more than 1,500 stakeholders and a curious general public eagerly participated. Local residents were invited to take a test ride on the shuttles and also provide valuable feedback to city officials and our project team members. Navigating a course set up in a Lincoln parking lot, these citizen riders were able to get first-hand experience on what it would be like to travel around the central downtown area in a driverless shuttle.
With our assistance, the City of Lincoln has applied for additional grant funding to advance the next phase of implementation on one of the largest full service, mixed-traffic autonomous microtransit vehicle pilots in the United States. A story about our collaboration with the city of Lincoln on its autonomous shuttle study is featured in the March/April 2019 issue of Engineering Inc. magazine, a publication of the American Council of Engineering Companies.
In the article, “Driverless Passenger Service,” HDR Senior Project Manager Ralph Batenhorst discusses the importance of this project for Lincoln residents. The article also explores how the project will support the city’s continued growth by “enhancing mobility, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality through the integration of new technologies.”
A PDF of the article is provided with permission of the American Council of Engineering Companies and Engineering Inc.