SAN DIEGO — An autonomous electric shuttle could soon take you on the first or last leg of a trip on San Diego’s public transportation system, according to SANDAG.
The transit authority, made up of representatives from governments across San Diego County, highlighted the shuttles among several other “cutting-edge transportation solutions” in consideration for the next five to 10 years.
The shuttles come for a company called Beep, which has proposed a network of self-driving, electric vehicles that would help close the gap between stops in the transportation system, SANDAG said in a news release.
In other words, riders could take a Beep shuttle one mile to the trolley station before their commute to work on the train. Or they could get off a bus downtown and take a Beep shuttle one extra mile to their final destination.
The shuttles would rely on “mobility hubs” with electric vehicle charging infrastructure and other amenities. New electric charging elements, including microgrids, substations and solar power systems, could provide juice to these locations.
“Redefining mobility requires transformative solutions that enhance connectivity to existing transit services and provide sustainable transportation options for all,” said Beep CEO Joe Moye, in a prepared statement. “Beep and our partners are honored to be a finalist for SANDAG’s innovative concepts, which will ensure mobility equity, reduced carbon emissions and provide safer roads for everyone.”
Beep and its partners received a $50,000 stipend from SANDAG to further develop their concept for use in San Diego. Two other proposals received stipends and moved to the second phase of the competition.
The other two projects in the running include the Cordoba Corporation’s proposal to extend the Blue Line trolley an additional mile into Tijuana and a proposal from the company Cavnue, which would use a state-of-the-art lane management system to make the region’s roads more efficient and prepared for self-driving vehicles.
SANDAG officials will spend the next few months working with the teams to determine how each proposal could become reality.
The finalists will reveal their refined concepts in the fall. A SANDAG panel will then decide which proposals to fund, plan, design and construct — with a possibility that authorities adopt all three.