NAVYA, a French start-up, is operating its fully autonomous, 15-passenger electric shuttle at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This is the first time the firm’s ARMA shuttles will be used in North America. They are already on the road in countries all over the world.
NAVYA’s flagship vehicle, the ARMA, is designed to provide efficient, convenient and safe “first and last mile” transportation. Following ten years in development, NAVYA launched the ARMA in October 2015. It can drive up to 28 miles per hour.
Using ARMA shuttles for self-guided tours will help “open the imagination of others to the potential of autonomous vehicle technology,” said Carrie Morton, deputy director of the Mobility Transformation Center.
The MTC is a public-private partnership dedicated to leading the auto industry into a future of connected and automated mobility. The center manages Mcity (U-M’s one-of-a-kind test site for connected and automated vehicles).
(mtc.umich.edu, xconomy.com, photo by Roger Hart, Michigan Photography, ns.umich.edu)
Chicago Keeps Second Chance
The Chicago Transit Authority reached an “agreement in principle” with two unions last month to continue operating the Second Chance program. Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308 still need to ratify the agreement.
The CTA Second Chance Program is offered in conjunction with the City of Chicago and social service agencies throughout the city. It currently employs 200 nonviolent ex-convicts, victims of abuse and other hard-to-place workers.
Second Chance is one of the largest programs of its kind in the country, with more than 600 participants since 2011. Workers in the program clean CTA buses and trains. Some also apply for mechanical training.
CTA president Dorval R. Carter said this is “great news for the nearly 200 men and women currently in this nationally renowned program, who will be able to continue to support themselves and their families, while working to build a foundation for their future success.”
(chicago.suntimes.com, chicago.cbslocal.com, transitchicago.com)
Canadian Police Target Texting
A growing number of Canadian police have started boarding buses to monitor “distracted” drivers. They especially focus on drivers who text while driving and hide their phones on their laps.
With large windows and elevated seating, buses give officers a good vantage point to monitor passing drivers. An officer will board a bus to observe and report dangerous driving behavior to patrolling officers who then pull over offending drivers.
Police started using this technique as more drivers are texting behind the wheel. The Insurance Bureau of Canada reports an increase in distracted driving collisions and claims across the country. Police use buses to target texting in several cities, including Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Quebec City.
Canadian penalties for distracted driving range from $80 to $1,000 and 3-5 points, according to “Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action,” 2015, by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation.
(cbc.ca, ibc.ca, tirf.ca, .vtti.vt.edu)
Holiday Travel Up!!!
More than 103 million Americans—the most ever recorded—were expected to travel for the year-end holidays! A vast majority—93.6 million—were expected to travel by car. Low gas prices contributed to the increase. AAA estimates U.S. drivers saved more than $27 billion at the gas pumps compared to the year before.
‘Til Next Time,
Jim Wilson, BWAT General Manager