Why does the strategic research plan focus on bus transit? What about the other types of transit?
Automated rail fixed-guideway systems are excluded from the research plan because automation is a fairly mature technology in those systems, use different technologies, and operate under a different set of parameters from bus transit (i.e. dedicated rail lines). There is a greater need for transit bus automation research because it lags behind rail transit automation in deployment readiness. Public transit using rubber-tired vehicles covers a larger set of operational service types (e.g., circulator, feeder, local, express, bus rapid transit, demand response, etc.), serves a wider population and geographic area than rail, and requires less infrastructure. The purpose of the strategic research plan is to establish a path forward for developing automation in a shared environment, which has a higher degree of complexity as well as a larger area for growth. Automating bus transit can greatly improve mobility across the population, but also has challenges that need to be addressed prior to widespread implementation. The strategic research plan aims to address these challenges and facilitate adoption of automation technology by transit providers.