Arlington has always been innovative. With our world-class venues and investment in our downtown and Entertainment District, greater Arlington has gained national attention and tourism. Now, Arlington is a leader again by finding a creative way to meet our community’s transportation needs.
ARLINGTON RAPID – Downtown is currently being mapped for Arlington’s future autonomous vehicle public transportation pilot program. The one-year public transportation pilot program, called Arlington RAPID (Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration), will integrate fully autonomous electric shuttles into the city’s existing Via on-demand Rideshare service. Via Rideshare has been a popular way for people to explore the Entertainment District or attend their classes at the University of Texas at Arlington or the Southeast campus of Tarrant County College. All you need is the free app for an on-demand ride that costs only $3.00! By March 2021, Via Rideshare customers will have the option to take trips from self-driving vehicles.
The City of Arlington was awarded a $1.7 million grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s Integrated Mobility Innovation Program to integrate autonomous vehicles into its on-demand Rideshare service. Through its partnership with Via, May Mobility and UTA, the City also plans to add a wheelchair-accessible autonomous vehicle and provide a limited number of free rides to university students during the pilot program.
“The City of Arlington has established itself as a national leader on autonomous vehicle testing and deployment,” said Ann Foss, principal planner with the City’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. “The FTA Integrated Mobility Innovation grant will allow the City to build on our AV knowledge and success, coupled with our successful existing Via Rideshare service, to improve mobility and access for all residents and visitors in Arlington.”
ARLINGTON’S HISTORY WITH DRIVERLESS TRANSPORTATION – Arlington’s history with autonomous transportation began in 2017 when Arlington became the first city in the United States to offer continuous autonomous shuttle service to the public. This pilot program used EasyMile autonomous vehicles and connected people in the Entertainment District with parking for 110 events. After 99% of surveyed riders reported feeling safe and enjoying their ride, the city moved to driverless cars.
In 2018, Arlington became a pioneer again as the first Texas city to offer an on-street driverless transportation option to the general public. In a partnership with Drive.ai, vehicles operated in the Entertainment District and conducted over 760 trips with overwhelmingly positive ratings from passengers. This successful pilot program led to an even greater commitment to launching RAPID.
The Chamber is proud to be a part of a community that brings innovative solutions to the public. We are excited to see how self-driving cars will shape our community’s future and benefit our booming Entertainment District. CLICK HERE to learn more about Arlington’s autonomous car program.