Autonomous Shuttle Implementation and Best Practices

Many cities in the United States and other countries are planning and investing in multimodal infrastructure to improve mobility and safety of the transportation network. Advancements in driverless technology and supporting infrastructure have led to the implementation of autonomous shuttles for mobility as well as first-mile and last-mile connectivity. They are also used to reduce short trips or internal trips or for specific use cases (for example, in a business park or university campus).

The successful implementation of autonomous shuttles like EasyMile, Optimum Ride, Coast Autonomous, May Mobility, Meet Olli, NAVYA, BEEP, etc. could depend on where it was implemented (neighborhood, campus, business park, hospital, recreational park, etc.) and the type of customers served. The operational characteristics of the autonomous shuttles, such as capacity, speed, incidents/crashes, comfort and convenience, etc., are different and could have an influence on their successful implementation. It could also depend on the road characteristics (number of lanes, speed limit, grade, curve, private and or public roads, etc.) for implementation. Researching the existing autonomous shuttles and documenting their success and limitations helps practitioners with better planning of future developments and implementations.

Autonomous shuttles have the potential to improve mobility and access for regular transportation system users as well as transportation disadvantaged users (such as elderly, disabled, non-driving age groups, etc.). However, the implementation and acceptance of autonomous shuttles by the type of technology, transportation system user characteristics (gender, age, etc.), and location characteristics (neighborhood, campus, business park, hospital, recreational park, etc.) is not very clear. There is limited information available on the perceptions of practitioners, industry experts, and transportation system users toward the autonomous shuttles.

With a potential for planning and implementing many autonomous shuttles in the near future, there is an immediate need to research and understand where they are successful and what can be done to make them successful. This research focuses on researching past autonomous shuttle implementations, surveying perceptions of practitioners, industry experts, and transportation system users toward autonomous shuttles, and recommending best practices.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
Principal Investigator: 
Srinivas S Pulugurtha, PhD
PI Contact Information:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

March 2023
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The results from this research will assist researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in gaining a better understanding of autonomous shuttle implementations. The guidance and best practices will help practitioners in assessing if autonomous shuttle implementation would be successful in their city/town and proactively address any hindrances from its successful implementation.

Project Number: 



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