RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation released a report today that provides the agency’s conclusions about this year’s test run of an autonomous shuttle in Cary.
The Connected Autonomous Shuttle Supporting Innovation, or CASSI, was piloted from March 6-June 2 in Cary’s Bond Park.
The final report is available on Cary’s Open Data Portal and on the NCDOT website. The data offers a complete overview and findings from the groundbreaking automated shuttle pilot.
“The outcomes from this pilot highlight the value of teamwork and data to evaluate how well automated vehicle technology is performing now as transit,” said Sarah Searcy, NCDOT’s Senior Advisor for Innovation. “The project and this report will help inform recommendations on how the technology could be improved to best serve the public.”
Some of the key findings outlined in the report are:
- Most riders had a good experience using the shuttle and with the attendant on the shuttle.
- Some riders did not like the shuttle’s jerky braking and sudden stops.
- New trips within Bond Park resulted from the introduction of the shuttle and some personal vehicle trips were replaced by the shuttle during the pilot period.
- Additional testing in more complicated settings and potentially more advanced technology is needed to optimize communications between the shuttle and traffic signals.
- Making sure the public is involved in the decision-making process about automated vehicles in their communities is important to success.
Facts from the project will inform NCDOT and Cary’s future test programs and projects. The findings also provide information to the public about the current challenges and successes of automated vehicle technology and where it may advance in the future.
Data was collected by the shuttle’s computer systems, an online rider survey, and through in person engagement. The findings explore how automated vehicle technologies might reshape the future of mobility in public spaces and illustrate the importance of interagency collaboration and transparency when testing emerging technologies. The shuttle’s manufacturer, Beep, as well as Cary and NCDOT collaborated on the pilot project.
“CASSI's success demonstrates Cary's commitment to inspiring innovation and fostering new ideas for solving challenges for the changing needs of our community,” said Cary’s Chief Innovation Officer Nicole Coughlin. “That means not only collecting data to gather insights but doing it in a way that is transparent and lets our community know the what, why and how we’re doing it, keeping them in mind every step of the way.”
The all-electric, low-speed automated shuttle navigated a four-stop route within Bond Park, operating on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CASSI carried an average of 3.5 passengers per trip, totaling 1,718 passengers throughout the pilot period. The shuttle is wheelchair accessible.
In addition to the number of riders and trips, data was collected on travel patterns, rider experience and perception of safety, trip purpose, and demographics of riders. These factors were used in the report to evaluate emerging technology as a public transportation option. Findings from the rider survey reflected the community’s strong interest in autonomous transportation and satisfaction with the pilot.
The pilot in Cary’s Bond Park was CASSI’s fourth deployment since 2020.
To read the report and learn more about the project’s findings, visit NCDOT’s website and Cary’s Open Data Portal.
To learn more about the Integrated Mobility Division, visit NCDOT.gov and follow Integrated Mobility on Twitter/X @NCDOT_IMD and LinkedIn NCDOT Integrated Mobility Division.
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