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Automated vehicles that have self-driving features but still have a driver are a proven technology with small shuttles. Now, the public transportation industry is asking whether automation makes sense for a full-size, full-speed transit bus. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has partnered with AECOM, a consulting firm with experience in the connected and automated vehicles sector and 12 other transit and transportation agencies to form the Automated Bus Consortium (ABC). The other agencies in the consortium are some of the largest and most innovative in the industry. Together, they hope to accelerate development of automated transit bus technology by combining resources and creating a ready market for its use.


DART Senior Assistant Vice President Of Engineering Darryl Spencer says, “By working together, we can reduce the planning and procurement costs and more easily share lessons learned.” Each participating agency contributed $100,000 to join the consortium for Phase 1 of the program. In Phase 2, consortium members have set a target for a joint procurement of 75 to 100 buses, which makes vehicle development more viable for one or more manufacturers. Pilot projects will test the automated vehicles in a variety of geographies and conditions to better understand their application nationwide.


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