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Match made in heaven: Autonomous microtransit and universities

  • By May Mobility
  • agosto 17, 2023

When deciding on where to deploy autonomous vehicles, college campuses should be at the top of your list. Read about our Arlington, Texas deployment here.

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Your alarm rings. You groggily reach over and hit the snooze button. Before you know it, it’s 7:45 a.m. and you snap awake because you’re going to be late for class. Scrambling out of bed you gather your things and rush out the door, wolfing down breakfast as you run the half mile to the bus stop. As you arrive, you’re devastated to see the back of the bus turning out of sight. So what are the options? Maybe you wait for the next bus, because at least you’ll make it on time for your next class. Or you could hail a rideshare vehicle, spending more than you had budgeted for the week. Walking is definitely out of the question.

But what if May Mobility’s autonomous microtransit was available? Let’s rewind a bit. You snap awake. It’s 7:45, but you’re not worried. You unlock your phone, open up an app and request a ride. In the time it takes to throw on some clothes, grab your backpack, get a bite to eat and walk to the nearby stop, your May Mobility autonomous vehicle will be waiting for you. Hop in and take a smooth, autonomous ride to campus in no time at all. Yes, it’s that easy.

Now, students aren’t always in a rush to get to class, but the life of a college student is busy. Work after class, late nights studying on campus, a trip into town with roommates and plenty of other activities mean that students need a reliable source of transportation, especially when they don’t live within reasonable walking distance of where they want to go. That’s why autonomous microtransit is so valuable in a college town. The last thing they need is expensive or unreliable transportation options. That’s where we come in clutch with autonomous microtransit.

Bringing autonomous microtransit to universities

Microtransit is a form of public transportation that focuses on on-demand, shared rides within a designated zone using small or large vans that can go into residential areas more easily than buses. Incorporating autonomous vehicles into the public transit system in this way is perfect for university and college transportation. To see May Mobility’s autonomous vehicles at work, let’s take a look at our RAPID deployment in Arlington, Texas.

Our service integrates seamlessly into Arlington’s existing public transit network, covering 1 square mile around central Arlington and the University of Texas (UTA). The service area is ideal for providing downtown and cross-campus mobility for UTA’s 40,000 students, with access to housing and key points of interest such as the UTA Maverick Stadium, Arlington Library, the Museum of Art, local restaurants and much more.

How RAPID deployment has helped college campuses across the country

One reason autonomous microtransit is perfect for colleges and universities is that UTA is home to thousands of international and exchange students who do not own cars. Overall, 11 percent of households in the area do not have access to a personal vehicle. A recent survey of U.S. undergraduates found that about 44 percent of students did not have a personal vehicle with them at school and a majority of those with a car wanted to drive less to save money. And that’s another way May Mobility’s autonomous transit can help. Partnering with the City of Arlington and UTA, we are able to offer free rides to all UTA students, helping them save money for the things that matter most.

Over the last three years, RAPID has provided more than 34,000 rides to residents, students and visitors. The service has been a much-needed transportation solution for students and was recognized this year with an Award of Excellence for Innovation by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (PMI).

Summer is ending and students across the nation are now preparing to head back to school. Universities and their surrounding communities would benefit greatly by adding autonomous microtransit services. From additional jobs to more reliable transportation options, your students will be grateful that you gave autonomous technology a chance. If you’d like to learn more about our university services, take a look at our Ann Arbor deployment and our Arlington case study then reach out if you’d like to explore the potential of autonomous transportation in your community.

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