Designing an autonomous service to cover transit last mile in low-density areas

Principal Investigator(s):

Alireza Khani, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Public transportation provides a safe, convenient, affordable, and ecoa??friendly mobility service. However, due to its fixed routes and limited network coverage, it is sometimes difficult or impossible for passengers to walk from a transit stop to their destination. This inaccessibility problem is also known as the "transit last mile connectivity problem". Such a lack of connectivity forces travelers to drive and hence increase the vehicle ownership and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) on roads. The autonomous mobilitya??ona??demand (AMoD) service with characteristics such as quick fleet repositioning and demand responsiveness, has the potential to provide coverage in lowa??density areas where the fixed route transit can only provide limited coverage. We propose to conduct research on designing an AMoD service to solve the transit last mile problem in lowa??density regions of the Greater Minnesota. The project will explore two different alternatives for providing the lasta??mile service, namely, traditional fixeda??route circulator and online demanda??responsive autonomous service. Furthermore, we propose to survey travelers in a focus area to estimate the induced (extra) demand for this new service. The work will employ techniques from state-ofa?? thea??art optimization and machine learning to optimize the system. By conducting this study, the project would pave a way for lowa??density Minnesota regions to adopt future mobility options.

Project details: