First full-sized automated buses to operate in Connecticut in a U.S. first

Posted: 25 June 2020 | | 1 comment

The programme will launch to the public in 2021, bringing three automated full-sized New Flyer electric buses to Connecticut’s CTfastrak BRT corridor.

Connecticut DOT CTfastrak BRT bus

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has announced a partnership with autonomous technology provider Robotic Research LLC to automate public transit buses – a first in the U.S.

Through a new programme funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation initiative, Robotic Research’s AutoDrive advanced driver-assistance system is enabling the automation of heavy-duty transit buses for revenue service deployment on the CTfastrak corridor.

Connecticut is one of 23 states receiving funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FTA’s IMI programme. IMI projects aim to advance mobility through creative partnerships and emerging technologies, combining public and private transportation assets and strategies to greatly increase access to mobility for everyone. The CTDOT project will be supported by New Flyer of America Inc. and the Center for Transportation and Environment (CTE).

A report from Mass Transit quotes a CTE spokesperson as saying: ““In the realm of public transit, automation can deliver significant benefits to battery-electric buses.Automated driving supervised by a human operator can improve accessibility for disabled and elderly riders, increase energy efficiency from driving, and may offer operational flexibility by eliminating the need for larger 60-foot buses to serve high-ridership routes.”

The programme is expected to launch to the public in 2021, and will see three 40-foot automated, electric New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE heavy-duty transit buses operating on the CTfastrak corridor – a dedicated nine-mile stretch for exclusive use by CTtransit buses. The busing operations will be a zero-emission deployment occurring between New Britain, Connecticut, and downtown Hartford.

The technology is being implemented to increase the accessibility of transportation to passengers with disabilities while also improving the efficiency and overall rider experience for all passengers.

As the first programme to deploy automated heavy-duty transit buses for revenue service in North America, it also creates two additional technology ‘firsts’ for U.S. mass transit: the first automated BRT line, and the first application of automated precision docking to minimise platform gaps, ensure ADA-compliant level boarding and improve accessibility for all passengers.

One response to “First full-sized automated buses to operate in Connecticut in a U.S. first”

  1. Rod Ferguson says:

    I learned last year at a conference at Goodwin College, sponsored by AAA, that our DOT realizes electric buses are a far better choice. It’s the difference between price (what you pay initially) and cost ( what you pay from the initial day to the last). Electric buses are more economical to run and especially service. There are far less moving parts. Our state government has made it a priority to slow climate change. For that, I commend them.

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