Google’s self-driving car division Waymo has announced it is partnering with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority, to “explore mobility solutions that use self-driving technology to better connect travellers with the city’s existing buses and light rail”.
Waymo says Public transport is an “integral part” of cities, but that the “last mile”?—?how people connect to public transport efficiently, affordably, and safely?—?is one of the main challenges communities struggle to solve and that working together, they want to explore how self-driving vehicles could fill transportation and mobility gaps for riders across the Greater Phoenix area.
The first phase of this partnership will offer first- and last-mile transit connections for Valley Metro employees, helping to connect them with public transportation. These riders will be able to use the Waymo app to hail a ride to take them to their nearest public transportation option.
They then plan to expand the partnership by providing first- and last-mile travel to Valley Metro RideChoice travellers, which cover groups traditionally underserved by public transit. This will form the basis of joint research to evaluate the adoption of Waymo technology, its impact, and its long-term potential to enable greater access to public transit.
Waymo says it hopes to open this service to the public to transport more people to Valley Metro transportation hubs in the Phoenix area in the future.