Last spring, METRO announced a plan to run an autonomous bus along TSU’s Tiger Walk, a shared-use path that cuts across the campus. Now, the transit agency said it will start a pilot program in January.
METRO CEO Tom Lambert said they’re curious to see how autonomous vehicles function on a small scale, as they look for new ways to move commuters through the growing region. He added that a college campus is a good testing ground.
“There’s a lot of pedestrian movement, cycling movement, golf cart movement,” Lambert said. “There’s a lot of things we can learn.”
In the second phase of the pilot, Lambert said they hope to run the bus on nearby Cleburne Street to see how it interacts with vehicular traffic.
See here for the background. Running this thing off campus once it has proven itself on campus is a logical thing to do, but I for one would want to make sure it is tested very thoroughly before I unleashed it in a less-controlled environment. That said, I do hope that the long range transit plan takes into account the potential future location of similar shuttles, to better extend the reach of the regular system. I may have to plan a little trip to TSU during the pilot phase to see how this goes.