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A new "hub-and-shuttle urban mobility system" test deployment will be taking place at the University of Michigan’s North Campus, according to recent reports.

Clean Transport

Hub-&-Shuttle Urban Mobility System To Be Tested At University of Michigan

A new “hub-and-shuttle urban mobility system” test deployment will be taking place at the University of Michigan’s North Campus, according to recent reports.

A new “hub-and-shuttle urban mobility system” test deployment will be taking place at the University of Michigan’s North Campus, according to recent reports.

What that means is that there will be testing of a proposed system whereby riders would have access to a transportation network combining high-frequency buses and on-demand shared shuttles (~50). These on-demand shuttles would be used to transport riders to and from the high-frequency bus arteries — hence the moniker “hub-and-shuttle system.”

An initial version of the “Reinventing Public Urban Transportation and Mobility” (RITMO) system is expected to be up and running by early 2017. Following possible success, the system would be expanded to include all of the U-M campus, Ann Arbor, and possibly Detroit as well. The project is being supported by a $1.4 million grant from the Michigan Institute for Data Science.

Notably, those behind the proposed system claim that it “could deliver riders to their destinations in as little as half the time of the existing bus system at a lower cost.”

The plan is reportedly for the on-demand shuttles to eventually be made autonomous — thus further slashing operating costs.

The system would be based around a smartphone app that would determine the best combination of shuttles and buses to use for a trip — with every passenger and vehicle in the system being tracked and data then fed back into a backend system working to maximize efficient and reduce traffic congestion.

Lead researcher Pascal Van Hentenryck, the Seth Bonder Collegiate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at U-M, commented: “It’s similar in some ways to the ride sharing that’s available now, but much more sophisticated. Obviously you can’t have everyone using something like Uber because that would cause massive congestion. But on-demand hub-and-shuttle can provide some of the convenience of point-to-point travel along with the efficiency of a high-frequency transit system.”

Sounds interesting. Though, who knows whether those involved will be able to make it work. The researchers have reportedly already begun collecting relevant data via volunteers using the existing U-M smartphone app.

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James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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