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Transit Automation Research

What’s New

  • FTA posted the Transit Bus Automation Update March 2020, providing information on transit bus automation pilot projects, demonstrations and tests domestically and internationally. This resource is provided on a recurring basis to ensure the most up to date information is readily available.
  • FTA published a State and Local Policy Scan that documents current or anticipated non-technical challenges that State or local transit agencies may experience when implementing transit bus automation projects, and provides recommendations for mitigating identified challenges and barriers.
  • FTA published a hazard and safety analysis of transit bus automation systems.
  • FTA created the Transit Bus Automation Update to provide information on transit bus automation pilot projects, demonstrations and tests domestically and internationally. FTA’s transit automation research team will provide updates on a recurring basis to ensure the most up to date information is readily available.
  • Given the potential of transit-bus automation, it is critical to evaluate the benefits and challenges from early implementations. To address this need, FTA published a guide for transit agency consideration in evaluating deployments of transit bus automation technologies.
  • FTA released three case studies highlighting transit automation projects conducted by Valley Metro, Pierce Transit and the Jacksonville Transit Authority.
  • FTA published a Transit Bus Automation Market Assessment that communicates the current availability, capabilities and limitations of automated transit bus technologies and systems at all automation levels. The report aims to inform transit agencies and other transit industry stakeholders interested in understanding the current transit bus automation market.
  • As the transit industry explores the use of automated transit buses, many stakeholders have questions about the impact of new technologies on transit agencies, employees, riders and the general public. See our frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • Applications for FTA Integrated Mobility Innovation (IMI) Program funding are under review. FTA’s 2019 IMI funding provides $15 million for innovative transit demonstration projects, including demonstrations of automated advanced driver assistance systems for transit buses and automated shuttles. Grant recipients will be announced shortly.
  • Subscribe to Transit Vehicle Automation as part of FTA's email updates to stay up to date with FTA’s transit automation research program.


Advancements in technology are rapidly transforming the transportation system and provide potential to improve transit systems. FTA’s Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation is exploring the use of vehicle automation technologies in bus transit operations by:

  • Conducting research to achieve safe and effective transit automation deployments
  • Identifying and resolving barriers to transit automation deployment
  • Leveraging technologies from other sectors to advance the transit automation industry
  • Demonstrating market-ready technologies in real-world settings
  • Transferring knowledge to the transit stakeholder community
  • To support the development and deployment of automated bus transit services, FTA has developed a five-year Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan that outlines FTA’s research agenda on automation technologies. The plan, which is built upon extensive stakeholder consultation and use case analysis and is informed by a rigorous literature review, will run through 2022.

For more information on FTA’s transit automation research program, sign up for email updates.

Last updated: Monday, June 22, 2020