Lincoln AV/CV Microtransit Study

Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln AV/CV Microtransit Study

To successfully support its continued growth and prosperity, Lincoln, Nebraska, is taking a strategic, forward-thinking approach to enhance mobility, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality through the integration of new technologies. 

In 2019, Lincoln is planning to embark on one of the largest full-service, mixed-traffic autonomous microtransit vehicle pilots in the United States. Lincoln will expand and enhance the downtown transit system in an area with the highest concentration of people, businesses and attractions, including a large state university, the state capitol, and a shopping, food and entertainment district. Such an ambitious project requires vision, and the city partnered with HDR to help develop and shape that vision.

Our work on this project involved identifying how the service should operate, how it should serve the community and the framework for the city to begin implementation. Results will be shared with the Nebraska Department of Transportation and other Nebraska communities.

The concept for the initial two-year pilot includes four autonomous shuttles deployed dynamically along predetermined routes based on the origins and destinations of passengers. The project is intended to bridge the gap between traditional fixed-route transit operations and new transportation network company models that provide on-demand service. Riders will request pick-up and drop-off locations from a smartphone app or standing kiosk, with the shuttles traveling in open traffic on Lincoln’s public roadways along a 2.6-mile downtown route. 

In the process, the Lincoln community will become familiar with AV microshuttles, and city officials will be able to evaluate how these vehicles can enhance the visibility and success of the transit system and test the impacts to existing street and signal system infrastructure. 

The autonomous microtransit system will be optimized to ensure people are on the shortest route possible, making the system more convenient, effective and efficient. Circulator routes; replacements for short, existing transit lines with low ridership; and first and last mile connections for high-capacity transit lines could be additional benefits. 

Lincoln received $100,000 in innovation funds from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge as one of 35 Champion Cities finalists to refine and test its vision. This funding provides for the testing of one driverless shuttle prototype in Lincoln in the summer of 2018. In August, the finalists will submit new applications, and four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive $5 million to more fully implement their concepts. If successful, Lincoln could have four driverless shuttles operating in 2019.

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Lincoln, Nebraska


Merit Award (2019)
Engineering Excellence Awards
American Council of Engineering Companies of Nebraska