The city of Coppell is beginning preliminary discussions to adopt autonomous vehicles for public transport.
At a Thursday meeting, Coppell’s Smart City Board met with Beep, a company that is developing fully autonomous shuttles, to understand how adopting an automated mode of public transit can help residents. Beep focuses on taking riders to fixed locations, geofenced routes and controlled speeds.
“At this point, we are in the very, very early stages,” Jerod Anderson, Coppell’s enterprise solutions director, said. “In fact, there's nothing really on anyone's radar from a staff prospective to do this, other than we know that it's a technology we need to review.”
Beep Sales Executive Justin Kryszan said automated vehicles’ services will include bridging “the last mile,” taking riders to and from larger modes of public transit. Kyrszan also said automated vehicles will also help reduce traffic congestion, as more people take public transit. The city’s carbon footprint will also decrease with fewer cars on the road, Kyrszan said. The implementation of automated vehicles will also help connect residents with local retail and restaurants, community centers and schools.
Since its earlier stages back in 2020, Kyrszan said autonomous vehicles have evolved from experimental platforms, seating eight passengers and travelling at 12 miles-per-hour to automotive-grade vehicles, reaching speeds of 35 miles-per-hour with a 10-passenger capacity. Since its implementation in other cities nationwide, Kyrszan said automated vehicles have significantly cut vehicle trips.
After further discussion with other vendors, Coppell’s Smart City Board will present their findings to the City Council in November, as well as other initiatives to build a smarter city for Coppell.
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Winston Henvey is the reporter for the Mesquite News, Coppell Gazette and The Leader serving Carrollton, Flower Mound and Lewisville. Email him with story suggestions at email@example.com.
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