The project brings shared autonomous mobility to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte), showcasing the role of advanced technology in clean, connected campus transportation. The six-month pilot project will enable NCDOT and the university’s faculty, staff, and students to research and evaluate the vehicle and service in a real-world, campus environment.
“This project reflects a commitment from UNC Charlotte and NCDOT to use new and advanced technologies to improve public transportation and meet our future needs,” said NCDOT Secretary Eric Boyette.
Bringing Autonomous to the UNC Charlotte Campus
The shuttle’s six-stop, 2.2-mile route connects the Popp Martin Student Union, Greek Village, academic buildings and dormitories, and the main campus light rail station located on the LYNX Blue Line.
The LYNX Blue Line operates along 18 miles with 26 stations, connecting users to 11 park-and-ride facilities and directly to the UNC Charlotte campus. Connecting to the light rail system with Beep’s shared autonomous mobility service provides riders with additional access to existing transportation services on campus.
The UNC Charlotte project continues to advance NCDOT’s goal of incrementally increasing the complexity of projects under the CASSI program, while learning from past challenges and building on successes, according to Beep’s press release. The project features the longest route, most traffic signals, and most complex operating environment to date for the CASSI program.
Riders will have the opportunity to take a survey to provide feedback about their experience riding on the autonomous shuttle. The survey will capture perceptions of the shuttle’s safety, comfort, and convenience. NCDOT will use the survey results to implement enhancements to the service.
“The intent of this pilot is to introduce autonomous technologies to the campus community and provide insight on how and where we may be able to leverage this and similar platforms on campus in the future,” said UNC Charlotte Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services Doug Lape. “Our partnership with NCDOT and Beep has allowed this opportunity to take place at UNC Charlotte.”
The pilot follows a successful inaugural project at the Town of Cary’s Fred G. Bond Metro Park, where a four-stop, 1.6-mile route provided an innovative and environmentally friendly mobility option for Cary residents and visitors.
“We are proud that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has again placed its trust in Beep to play an ongoing role in the CASSI program statewide,” said Beep CEO Joe Moye. “Our experience in deploying safe, effective shared autonomous mobility services for many thousands of passengers across the country will directly benefit the UNC Charlotte community in ensuring another positive result from this important program, which is transforming the future of mobility.”