First Transit Announces Shared Autonomous Vehicle Pilot with METRO Houston and TSU

First Transit announces a shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) pilot with METRO Houston and Texas Southern University (TSU). This is the eighth SAV initiative for First Transit and the first-of-its-kind in the region.

METRO Houston is introducing the University District Circulator on the campus of TSU. An EasyMile SAV shuttle will travel on the Tiger Walk, a one-mile pedestrian walking loop, providing connection to multiple points and buildings on campus for students and faculty. The SAV passenger shuttle can carry up to 12 passengers and is designed to travel using a pre-programmed route, equipped with a sensor and intelligent vehicle system to detect obstacles and avoid collisions.

First Transit is providing onboard customer service agents for the SAV passenger shuttles, system and project management, and maintenance operations.

“We are proud of expanding our more than 20-year relationship with METRO Houston,” Justin Pate, senior vice president of global business development and marketing for First Transit, said. “As the transportation solution provider to more than 30 universities, this partnership with METRO Houston and TSU allows us to continue to enhance the rider experience, adoption and education of SAV mobility solutions.”

Texas Southern University is one of the nation’s largest historically black colleges and universities. TSU offers over 120 baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degree programs in nine schools and colleges and has nearly 10,000 students.

The University District Circulator pilot will operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to university students, staff and visitors. Everyone is required to sign a consent form before riding.