The city of Peoria will test an autonomous shuttle, RoboRide Medical, as part of a four-month pilot program.
The free, electric, driverless shuttle will open to the public at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, in the health care district near Plaza Del Rio Boulevard and will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.
The city of Peoria will host a launch celebration at Freedom Plaza Courtyard, located at 13714 N. Plaza Del Rio Boulevard, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4.
“Peoria is a modern, thriving community embracing the evolution of transit,” Mayor Cathy Carlat said.
“As we evaluate future needs and opportunities, we are thrilled to collaborate with industry leaders and regional groups to identify how fully electric and autonomous vehicles can improve mobility in our community. I look forward to seeing Peoria residents and families joining us as we study this exciting and innovative concept.”
The city of Peoria partnered with the Maricopa Association of Governments and Beep Inc. — who provides multipassenger, electronic, autonomous mobility solutions — to bring RoboRide Medical to Peoria.
This pilot program is the second iteration in a transportation technology study in Peoria. The first project served a small route in the P83 Entertainment District.
Although prematurely suspended due to the pandemic, Peoria received positive feedback and useful data regarding driverless technology.
With ASU’s help, the city of Peoria and MAG will study the feasibility of autonomous vehicles in a health care district. This analysis will provide data on high-tech mobility options and ridership patterns to better understand future transit opportunities and mobility solutions.
Plaza Del Rio is home to more than 100 medical facilities and over 500 senior living residences. This service connects Peoria residents from their point of origin to their destination within the same service area.
“MAG is dedicated to exploring emerging technologies that provide transportation access and convenience to our region’s residents and improve quality of life,” said John Giles, Mesa mayor and MAG Regional Council chair.
“The RoboRide Medical pilot project reflects the region’s commitment to transportation improvement and affirms that the region is open to new technologies that improve the efficiency, safety and operations of our transportation system. This type of forward thinking and planning is necessary to ensure regional competitiveness for the benefit of our residents.”
RoboRide Medical has no steering wheel or pedals and will operate using a pre-programmed, fixed route. No appointment, fee or pre-screening is necessary.
Additionally, the shuttle can accommodate passengers with mobility needs, including riders with wheelchairs or scooters. The shuttle will always have an attendant on board to ensure riders have a pleasant and safe experience.
The Beep Command Center will remotely provide an additional layer of safety and support by communicating with the attendant at any time. RoboRide Medical holds approximately eight passengers and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
“We are thrilled to return to such an innovative community like the city of Peoria,” said Joe Moye, Beep chief executive officer.
“Our partnership with the city and the Maricopa Association of Governments provides the perfect synergy to enable mobility for all communities and people.
“We are honored to be part of the health care district near Plaza Del Rio Boulevard for the next several months providing first and last-mile solutions to medical services for the senior community.”
For information about the route, visit peoriaaz.gov/transit.