Bus News

Dallas' DART joins national transit group to test driverless buses

Dallas' DART joins national transit group to test driverless buses

DART bus
This bus comes with a driver. Photo courtesy of DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has joined a national organization of transit and transportation agencies that will collaborate on a program to deploy new driverless buses.

The group is called the Automated Bus Consortium, and it will investigate the feasibility of pilot automated bus projects across the United States. Founding members include transit and transportation agencies from cities and states such as Long Beach; Los Angeles; Atlanta; Michigan; Minnesota; Virginia; Florida; and Rochester, New York.

The formation of the Consortium is a response to the rapid advancement of driverless technologies, combined with the need to improve mobility options and reduce congestion.

The transit agencies will launch pilot projects in live-service environments using full-sized, full-speed buses.

They'll make an initial purchase of 75 to 100 full-sized, automated buses, and define potential routes and locations. AECOM, an infrastructure firm, will manage the rollout.

Joining the Consortium lowers the cost for each agency, and allows an opportunity to share lessons and best practices.

Consortium members will meet at a forum in Detroit, Michigan, on September 12, to meet companies who can design and build automated buses.

Estimated to begin between 2021-2022, the plan calls for a one-year feasibility phase, followed by implementation within two years. Each agency can then decide whether to purchase more buses.