Automated Bus Consortium issues RFP to acquire 70 automated buses

Posted: 22 February 2022 | | No comments yet

Representing the first ever battery-electric automated bus procurement, the Automated Bus Consortium has announced the release of a Request for Proposals to procure 70 full-size Level 4 automated buses.

Automated Bus Consortium issues request to acquire automated buses

Credit: Automated Bus Consortium

The Automated Bus Consortium – a collective of U.S. transit agencies and Departments of Transportation – has announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to procure up to 70 full-size Level 4 automated buses. Defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 4 is a designation of highly automated vehicles.

Operating in pre-determined environments, the buses will still have drivers, steering wheels and pedals. These vehicles will be deployed in revenue service on pilot routes selected by each participating agency, resulting in significant advancements in understanding the impacts of automation.

The RFP represents the first ever battery-electric automated bus procurement and large-scale deployment for full-sized buses, and was issued by the State of Michigan, which is serving as the lead procurement agency on behalf of the Consortium agencies. Formed by AECOM, the Automated Bus Consortium is a first-of-its-kind approach to investigate the feasibility of pilot automated bus projects and accelerate the deployment of automated transit technologies.

“The State of Michigan is excited to serve as the lead agency for this innovative procurement that reflects our commitment to advancing the application of technology in public transit,” said Jean Ruestman, Administrator at the Office of Passenger Transportation at the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The lessons learned from the deployment of Level 4 automated buses on the pilot routes will help to advance the industry.”

Participants in this programme include founding member agencies Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, MetroLINK, the Michigan Department of Transportation/Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, the Capital Area Transportation Authority, Michigan State University and Huron Transit Corporation. They will be joined by new Consortium members NJ TRANSIT and RATP Dev.

By combining the purchasing power of multiple agencies across the U.S., the Automated Bus Consortium aims to accelerate the adoption of state-of-the-art, safety-focused automated features not yet available to the industry. These features are designed to assist the bus operator in manoeuvring the vehicle safely and improve service reliability. With the release of the RFP, the Consortium intends to select vendors by summer 2022 and receive a bus prototype for testing and certification in late 2023.