Texas Southern University is now home to the region’s first Shared Autonomous Shuttle. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning on the campus of TSU to commemorate the launch between METRO and Texas Southern University in conjunction with project partners First Transit and the Houston-Galveston Area Council.
METRO introduced the University District Circulator in which a driverless EasyMile SAV shuttle travels on the Tiger Walk, a one-mile pedestrian walking loop, providing connections to multiple points and buildings on campus for students and faculty. The shuttle can carry up to 15 passengers and travels using a pre-programmed route, equipped with a sensor and intelligent vehicle system to detect obstacles and avoid collisions. This shuttle is the eighth SAV initiative for First Transit and the first such shuttle on a university campus in this region.
“I often talk about Texas Southern University being the ‘heart and soul’ of Houston,” said TSU President Austin A. Lane, “Well, today, that rings true more than ever. TSU is so proud to be METRO’s pilot institution for this groundbreaking and innovative service.”
In every aspect, the shuttle’s presence on the TSU campus connects to the university’s Top Five priorities: student success and completion, academic program quality and research, culture, partnerships, and finance.
“It sets TSU apart and it creates a feeling of pride, knowing that, once again, TSU is on the leading edge,” said Lane. “This has a positive impact on our campus culture.”
Dr. Carol Lewis, a Transportation Studies faculty member in the university’s College of Science, Engineering & Technology, played a major role in facilitating this emerging technology coming to TSU. Through this unique pilot program, TSU students, faculty/staff and community members have an opportunity to engage with this emerging technology. It provides an alternative option for mobility within the campus and generates hands-on research for students and faculty members interested in the Transportation Studies program.
During the summer pilot program, the shuttle operates Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–8 p.m. and is open to the public. For more information on the shuttle and how to ride, visit https://bit.ly/31FvS1W
ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Texas Southern University (TSU) honors our designation as a special-purpose institution for urban programming and research. TSU is a comprehensive university providing higher education access to the nation’s underserved communities. TSU’s academic and research programs address critical urban issues, and prepares its diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – organized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of more than 9,700 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and the University has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many who are the first in their family to attend college.