For the second time, the City of Peoria will be testing an autonomous shuttle, RoboRide Medical, as part of a six-month pilot program. The free, electric, driverless shuttle will open to the public in mid-November in the healthcare district near Plaza Del Rio Boulevard.
“Peoria is a modern, thriving community embracing the evolution of transit,” said Mayor Cathy Carlat. “As we evaluate future needs and opportunities, we are thrilled to collaborate with industry leaders and regional groups to identify how fully-electric and autonomous vehicles can improve mobility in our community. I look forward to seeing Peoria residents and families joining us as we study this exciting and innovative concept.”
The City of Peoria has partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and Beep, Inc., a global leader in multi-passenger, electronic, autonomous mobility solutions, to bring RoboRide Medical to Peoria. This pilot program is the second iteration in a transportation technology study in the city of Peoria. The first project was a 60-day program where the shuttle, RoboRide, served a small route in the P83 Entertainment District. Although prematurely suspended due to COVID-19, Peoria received positive feedback and useful transportation data regarding the driverless technology and decided to resume testing this service with the knowledge gained. With the help of Arizona State University, the City of Peoria will be studying the feasibility of an autonomous vehicle in a robust healthcare district of the city as well as capture ridership adoption behaviors and patterns. Plaza del Rio is home to more than 100 medical facilities and more than 500 senior living residences. This service connects Peoria residents from their point-of-origin to their destination within the same service area.
“This pilot project will help MAG gain insight into how autonomous vehicle technology can help improve the safety and efficiency of the transportation system in our region,” said Vladimir Livshits, MAG Director of Transportation Technologies and Services. “We look forward to reviewing the data and hearing feedback from residents who ride the RoboRide Medical shuttle. This project is a great example of how collaborative efforts between local government, private sector, academia and regional planning agencies can put innovative ideas into action.”
MAG joined the pilot program to learn more about the technology and how it could be successfully applied to the region. MAG provides regional planning and policy decisions in areas of transportation, air quality, water quality, and human services for Maricopa County.
“MAG is dedicated to exploring emerging technologies that provide transportation access and convenience to our region’s residents and improve quality of life,” said John Giles, Mesa Mayor and MAG Regional Council Chair. “The RoboRide Medical pilot project reflects the region’s commitment to transportation improvement and affirms that the region is open to new technologies that improve the efficiency, safety and operations of our transportation system. This type of forward thinking and planning is necessary to ensure regional competitiveness for the benefit of our residents.”
RoboRide Medical has no steering wheel or pedals and will operate using a pre-programmed, fixed route. No appointment, fee or pre-screening is necessary. Additionally, the shuttle can accommodate passengers with mobility needs, including riders with wheelchairs or scooters. The shuttle will always have an attendant onboard to ensure riders have a pleasant and safe experience. Additionally, the Beep Command Center will remotely provide an additional layer of support by communicating with the attendant at any time. RoboRide Medical holds approximately eight passengers and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph. The shuttle will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We are thrilled to return to such an innovative community like the city of Peoria. Our partnership with the city and the Maricopa Association of Governments provides the perfect synergy to enable mobility for all communities and people,” said Joe Moye, Beep CEO. “We are honored to be part of the healthcare district near Plaza Del Rio Boulevard for the next several months providing first and last-mile solutions to medical services for the senior community.”
For more information about the route or autonomous shuttle technology, visit www.peoriaaz.gov/transit. To learn more about MAG and Beep, visit www.azmag.gov and www.ridebeep.com.