Babcock Ranch, Fla., Aug. 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Highlights
The first autonomous school shuttle in the world will debut this fall at Babcock Ranch in Florida.
Transdev, the mobility partner for Babcock Ranch, is completing more than two months of testing on school shuttle routes that will supplement existing autonomous options within the community. During the pilot-program, Transdev will evaluate rider behavior and demand by offering the service to Babcock Neighborhood School (BNS) students who live within the new town located just northeast of Fort Myers. As the town—the first solar-powered community in the country—continues to grow to its estimated capacity of nearly 50,000 residents, mobility options will continue to evolve to meet new demands, including student transit.
“Imagine how excited these students will be the first time that yellow school shuttle pulls up outside their house. What an incredible moment for them,” said Dick Alexander, Executive Vice President of Mobility Innovation at Transdev. “Not only are we providing an important mobility option for these children, but what an opportunity for them to see the amazing power of science, technology, engineering and math that help this shuttle run safely and efficiently. The whole experience is something we hope they will never forget.”
BNS students living within the community will be the first in the nation to catch a ride to school on an autonomous shuttle. Nearly 30 of the 316 students enrolled in grades K-7 at BNS this year will be residing within the new solar-powered town by January.
Safety is always the highest priority. The 12-person Easy Mile EZ10 Gen II shuttle reaches a standard cruising speed of 8mph and brakes automatically and swiftly when obstacles are detected—a new software update will even allow the shuttle to maneuver around an obstacle if safe conditions permit. A safety attendant will remain on board at all times students are riding to ensure their comfort and to answer all the questions curious minds may have about autonomous technology. Transdev will test the autonomous shuttle with students and families before the pilot officially begins.
“It makes me wish I were a kid again,” said Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners, the developers behind Babcock Ranch. “This is a sign of progress and a sincere testament to a shared commitment to sustainable living. For many of the kids moving in and living here, autonomous school shuttles will be the only school transit they ever know. I'm definitely jealous of them and so proud of this concept.”
As part of that dedication to sustainability, walking and biking will always be encouraged. For days with foul weather, or for students who live farther from the school, the autonomous shuttle will remain a viable option during the pilot. Eventually, students and parents will be able to book on-demand, door-to-door school shuttles based on individual needs.
Babcock Ranch and Transdev have been offering autonomous shuttle service since the town opened in January as part of an overall devotion to reducing reliance on automobiles. The school shuttle service will utilize all the knowledge and expertise gained during that time, as well as complement Transdev's global AV operations, including the first open-road autonomous shuttle in Europe.
Based near Chicago, Transdev is the largest private-sector operator of multiple modes of transit in North America, including bus, rail, streetcar, paratransit, shuttle, and sedan and taxi services. Globally, Transdev operates public transportation in 20 countries. Transdev is committed to being the trusted partner of cities, transit authorities, and airports through quality execution and innovations in mobility. For more information, go to www.transdevna.com.
About Babcock Ranch
Located in Southwest Florida just north of Fort Myers, Babcock Ranch is an innovative town that sets a whole new standard for sustainable, responsible growth. From the largest solar-plus-storage system operating in the U.S. today and expansive public green spaces and trails to the gigabyte of fiber-optic connectivity standard to every home—and free wi-fi everywhere you within the community—it’s a place where families can benefit from the most advanced technologies, then walk out their doors to reconnect with nature and neighbors. Babcock Ranch will ultimately include 19,500 homes and six-million square feet of commercial space.
About Kitson and Partners
Kitson & Partners is a private residential and commercial real estate investment and development company based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Kitson & Partners’ portfolio includes 1.5 million square feet of retail shopping centers, 6.8 million square feet of commercial entitlements, and 21,500 entitled residential units. With a 25-year track record and long-term institutional capital, Kitson & Partners' operational expertise and financial strength are unparalleled in the Florida real estate development business
Scott Hagen Transdev North America 7034024359 email@example.com Lisa Hall Kitson & Partners 8505087782 firstname.lastname@example.org