Automated Bus Consortium to re-issue RFP for highly automated buses in 2024

Posted: 3 August 2023 | | No comments yet

The Automated Bus Consortium is preparing to release an updated request for proposals in early 2024, aimed at procuring full-size highly automated transit buses to accelerate their deployment across the U.S.

Automated Bus Consortium to re-issue RFP for highly automated buses in 2024

The Automated Bus Consortium ™, an alliance of U.S. transit agencies and state departments of transportation, has announced plans to release an updated request for proposals (RFP) for full-size highly automated transit buses, building on its initial RFP issued in January 2022. The goal is to leverage the latest automation advancements and insights gained to propel the deployment of cutting-edge automated transit technologies. The updated RFP is slated to be unveiled in early 2024.

This RFP represents the first-ever attempt to achieve carbon neutrality through automated bus procurement and large-scale deployment of full-sized buses. Spearheaded by the State of Michigan, the Automated Bus Consortium, formed by AECOM, aims to investigate the feasibility of pilot automated bus projects and fast-track the adoption of automated transit technologies.

The highly automated buses will operate in controlled environments and will continue to have drivers, steering wheels and pedals. Each participating agency will select pilot routes for these buses, encompassing rural and urban deployments, bus rapid transit, bus yards and local bus services. The deployment of these innovative buses on pilot routes promises to unlock crucial insights into the implications of automation.

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Leading agencies such as the City of Detroit, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and more, are already part of this ground-breaking programme. The Consortium is open to new members and invites interested parties to get in touch.

“Our initial RFP was successful in further advancing the automated transit industry and generated much interest from industry partners. We can now apply lessons learned from the last several years, incorporate current priorities and integrate updated automation requirements to better meet agency needs,” said Jean Ruestman from the Michigan Department of Transportation/Office of Passenger Transportation.

With the collective buying power of multiple agencies, the Automated Bus Consortium aims to accelerate the implementation of modern, safety-oriented automated features, not yet available in the US transit industry. These advanced features are designed to assist bus operators in manoeuvring vehicles safely, thereby enhancing service reliability.