May Mobility and Via Launch First Rural Transit Program to Use Self-Driving Wheelchair-Accessible ADA Compliant Vehicles
The Grand Rapids, Minn. The service is accessible by design and will demonstrate how AVs achieve their greatest impact when used for public transport – even in rural and winter environments.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn., September 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, May Mobility, a leader in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, and Via, the global leader in TransitTech, will launch the first transit project compliant with the American Disability Act (ADA) AV in Rural America.
The company’s goal for the Grand Rapids, Minn. project is to demonstrate that AVs achieve their greatest societal impact when used for public transportation. The rollout will allow anyone to book a free, on-demand, shared ride from an AV. The project will also advance AV deployments in rural terrain and diverse and sometimes harsh weather conditions.
“We are passionate about improving transportation for all, and providing innovative and accessible transportation solutions to rural communities is a key next step on that journey,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “May Mobility and Via are proud to bring cutting-edge technology and services to Great Rapids with the first commercial fleet of Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles.”
“Via is proud to partner with May Mobility for the new Great Rapids launch of the site, which advances our shared belief that AVs have the greatest impact when they are accessible, shared and complementary to a community’s public transit system,” said Israel Duanis, head of autonomous vehicles at Via. “Via is committed to supporting rural connectivity for riders of all needs. We believe that Great Rapids will serve as a pioneer in how autonomous and innovative mobility can transform the way small communities get around.”
May Mobility’s fleet in Great Rapids will mark the first commercial launch of the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS platform, including the first ADA-compliant versions of the vehicle the company announcement earlier this year.
Powered by Via’s AI-powered booking and routing algorithms, on-demand rides are available to everyone via the Via app (available on iOS and Android), which matches passengers heading in the same direction in a single vehicle to create efficient and flexible shared journeys. Across the city, more than 70 pick-up and drop-off locations were identified and established based on popular travel habits and community feedback, which helped shape the service area, hours of openness and other considerations. Passengers without smartphones can also book by calling 211.
Although the rides are open to everyone, they are designed to serve those without a private car or with mobility issues – with the aim of using technology to help everyone achieve a supported independent lifestyle through convenient travel, regardless of income or ability.
This project will expand access to mobility for Grand Rapids Community complementing the city’s existing fixed-route bus routes and will cover nearly 17 square miles, allowing residents and visitors to easily connect to restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, churches, fitness centers, and more. from the city. The service will also provide coverage on weeknights and weekends when other options are not available.
The rollout represents another step forward for May Mobility and Via’s history of introducing AV vehicles as public transportation in communities across the country and follows the launch of three other AV services in Arlington, Texas., Ann Arbour, Mich.and Grand Rapids, Mich. in 2021.
Via and May Mobility look forward to continuing to help cities and communities integrate autonomous vehicles into their public transit systems to expand access to safe, efficient, equitable and sustainable mobility.
The 18-month project, called “goMARTI,” was created, built, and deployed with support from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Grand RapidsThe PLUM Catalyst, 211 and Mobility Mania, among others.
Founded in 2012, Via has pioneered the TransitTech category in using new technologies to develop public mobility systems – optimizing networks of buses, shuttles, wheelchair accessible vehicles, school buses, autonomous and electric vehicles around the world. Building the most efficient, equitable and sustainable transport network in the world for all users – including those with reduced mobility, those without smartphones and unbanked populations – Via works with its partners to reduce the costs of public transit while providing transportation options that rival the convenience of a personal car while reducing environmental impact. At the intersection of transportation and technology, Via is a visionary market leader that combines software innovation with sophisticated service design and operational expertise to fundamentally improve the way the world moves, delivering technology in 600 communities and more than 35 countries and more.
May Mobility, established in Ann Arbor, MI in 2017, built the best autonomy system in the world. Their proprietary Multi-Policy Decision-Making (MPDM) system is at the heart of their mission to help make cities safer, greener and more accessible. MPDM’s proven track record has enabled more than 320,000 autonomous rides to date in multiple transit applications across the United States and Japan. With key strategic partnerships including some of the world’s most innovative automotive and transportation companies, such as Toyota Motor Corporation, May Mobility aims to achieve the highest standards in driver safety, sustainability and fairness. transport. For more information, visit www.maymobility.com.
SOURCE May Mobility