What might transit automation mean for rural areas?
Transit automation has the potential to provide benefits to both urban and rural areas. Given the lower population density of rural areas, the specific automation technologies and the implementation of those technologies in rural areas may require different approaches from urban technologies. Automation technologies could make certain types of transit service in rural areas more cost-effective. For example, cost effectiveness may be achieved through the use of smaller vehicles more suited to rural areas. Automation may also lead to greater cost-effectiveness through the use of such services as on-demand shared rides with flexible routing. Rural areas may be well-suited to benefit from transit bus automation use cases such as automatic driver assist systems (ADAS), automated ADA paratransit, and mobility-on-demand shared ride services, among others. Overall, transit bus automation will improve geographic and temporal access to transit because of the associated cost savings and the capability to provide new service models, such as late-night and off-peak service.