Texas Southern University and METRO Introduce the Region’s First Shared Autonomous Shuttle
HOUSTON (June 19, 2019) – Texas Southern University is now home to the region’s first Shared Autonomous Shuttle. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning on the campus of TSU to commemorate the launch between METRO and Texas Southern University in conjunction with project partners First Transit and the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
METRO introduced the University District Circulator in which a driverless EasyMile SAV shuttle travels on the Tiger Walk, a one-mile pedestrian walking loop, providing connections to multiple points and buildings on campus for students and faculty. The shuttle can carry up to 15 passengers and travels using a pre-programmed route, equipped with a sensor and intelligent vehicle system to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. This shuttle is the eighth SAV initiative for First Transit and the first such shuttle on a university campus in this region.
“I often talk about Texas Southern University being the ‘heart and soul’ of Houston,” said TSU President Austin A. Lane, “Well, today, that rings true more than ever. TSU is so proud to be METRO’s pilot institution for this groundbreaking and innovative service.”
In every aspect, the shuttle’s presence on the TSU campus connects to the university’s Top Five priorities: student success and completion, academic program quality and research, culture, partnerships, and finance.
“It sets TSU apart and it creates a feeling of pride, knowing that, once again, TSU is on the leading edge,” said Lane. “This has a positive impact on our campus culture.”
Dr. Carol Lewis, a Transportation Studies faculty member in the university’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology, played a major role in facilitating this emerging technology coming to TSU. Through this unique pilot program, TSU students, faculty/staff and community members have an opportunity to engage with this emerging technology. It provides an alternative option for mobility within the campus and generates hands-on research for students and faculty members interested in the Transportation Studies program.
During the summer pilot program, the shuttle operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–8 p.m. and is open to the public. For more information on the shuttle and how to ride, visit https://bit.ly/31FvS1W