Treasure Island welcomes new autonomous shuttle pilot

Posted: 24 August 2023 | | No comments yet

With a key focus on accessibility and safety, TIMMA’s innovative autonomous shuttle pilot offers Treasure Island residents with complimentary rides on a fixed route featuring stops designed for inclusivity.

Treasure Island welcomes new autonomous shuttle pilot

Credit: Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) has announced that the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency (TIMMA) has launched a new autonomous shuttle pilot programme, named ‘The Loop’. The initiative is a significant stride forward in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, featuring electric self-driving shuttles that traverse public roads, offering passengers a glimpse into the future of mobility.

Each of The Loop’s shuttles is equipped with an on-board attendant, guaranteeing safety and accessibility. The service, which is free of charge, operates along a fixed route, encompassing seven key stops in the heart of Treasure Island. The design of The Loop prioritises inclusivity, catering to passengers with disabilities, including those who require wheelchair accessibility. Operating hours from 09:00 to 18:00, seven days a week, ensuring convenience for diverse travel needs.

Supplementing the existing Muni 25 line service, The Loop strategically covers the island’s northern region. With shuttles arriving approximately every 20 minutes, residents can benefit from enhanced connectivity for daily commutes and leisure activities.

Funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority paved the way for The Loop’s implementation. Spanning nine months, this pilot programme not only seeks to unveil the potential of AV technology but also encourages community engagement and learning.

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Matt Dorsey, Chair of TIMMA and District 6 Supervisor, said: “This is a community with unique transportation needs and challenges, and this innovative pilot will give us insight into how autonomous vehicles can enhance neighbourhood access and promote community-wide learning.”

V. Fei Tsen, President of project partner Treasure Island Development Authority, said: “This new service is a further example of our comprehensive approach to expanding transportation options for current neighbourhoods and businesses, as well as for new residents coming to Treasure Island.”

According to SFCTA, the creation of The Loop involved meticulous testing and collaboration. Beep, an autonomous vehicle provider selected by the agency, subjected the shuttles to rigorous testing, including evaluating software, lidar technology and communications capabilities. The shuttles are operated by trained attendants, ensuring passenger assistance and safety.

TIMMA collaborated with city agencies and community groups during testing, refining safety protocols and co-ordination. Rider feedback had also been gathered through an ongoing survey, with community workshops and community involvement allowing passengers and residents to actively shape The Loop’s evolution.