October 2018 – Enormous strides are being made in the development of driverless cars and automated vehicle (AV) technologies, changing how transit service will be provided. Recognizing the importance of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, the Hillsborough MPO sponsored a study on the feasibility of implementing autonomous transit shuttles at the University of South Florida. Located in Tampa, the site is already a 24/7 city within the city with nearly 17,000 employees serving over 43,500 students, with 6,327 currently living on campus. The nearly 3-acre campus is an ideal test bed for AV with its universal speed limit of 25 mph, limited on-campus parking, and significant demand for alternative transportation options.
Researchers from USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research surveyed 374 students about perceptions and interests in AV mobility on campus. Over 60% of students said they were likely to use a driverless vehicle. A variety of transportation data and trip patterns also were analyzed. Three top service concepts were identified: a night-time shuttle, remote parking shuttle, and campus circulator. Just completed, the feasibility report proposes a one-year pilot project using two shuttles with safety attendants. Sources of funding for the pilot are still being identified.