Impact of Modularized Autonomous Vehicles on Transit System Design and Operations
Marco Nie, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering – Northwestern University
Modularized Autonomous Vehicle (MAV) is a newcomer in the rapidly evolving AV landscape. Unlike regular AVs, MAVs can operate individually or as an improvised train. By coupling modularity and autonomy, MAVs promise a timely solution to the nation’s struggling transit systems, which have yet to recover from the devastating blow delivered by COVID19. Autonomy powered by clean electricity means lower labor/fuel costs and carbon footprint from transit operations, whereas modularity provides flexible vehicle capacity in response to uncertain passenger demand, as well as opportunity to improve road capacity and energy efficiency (through train forming). This project aims to analyze the impact of MAVs on transit system design and operations. It will also examine how the design of structured transit routes and schedule can take advantage of autonomous modularity to maximize efficiency, optimize user experience, and promote equity.
Institution(s): Northwestern University
Award Year: 2023