Public forum will explore possibility of transit on demand in Princeton

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What would it take to make Princeton an accessible community for all, even those who cannot or choose not to own or drive a car? Princeton Future will explore the question at a public forum from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 28 in the community room at the Princeton Public Library.

Princeton Future is a non-profit community group that studies issues related to planning, development, and affordability. Speakers will discuss the capabilities of a transit-on-demand system where small, driverless shuttles could be summoned by a smart phone app to a location within walking distance of a resident’s home.

Speakers at the event include Alain Kornhauser, director of the program in transportation at Princeton University, and Jerry He, who is pursuing a masters of architecture at Princeton. Kornhauser is the founder of the SmartDrivingCar Summit and the host of the SmartDrivingCar podcast. His annual summit brings together the leaders in smart driving vehicle technology. At the 2019 summit, the focus was on improving mobility for all people, especially the “mobility marginalized.”

Five neighborhood break-out sessions will be held to consider what transit routes would be most valuable for residents.

“Developers of electric cars and autonomous vehicles are eager to see how their technologies can be applied in the real world,” said Sheldon Sturges, administrator and co-founder of Princeton Future.

Because the transit on demand system would operate over fixed routes, the variables presented to autonomous vehicles would be minimized.

“We want to explore the possibility of leveraging this interest to gain support – possibly including the vehicles – for such an on-demand system.” Sturges said, adding that such a system would begin with safety drivers in control. Piloted autonomous shuttle buses are already operating on fixed routes in downtown areas of Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas, and Columbus, Ohio.

Below is a map of possible routes for autonomous vehicles in Princeton. For more information visit princetonfuture.org.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

6 Comments

  1. I think they had transit on demand on the kids cartoon , the Jetsons. It seems that all Scify movies, TV shows, forecast the future

  2. Rick, I doubt these sort of projects are meant to be practical solutions for all of Princeton. Only the parts that the autonomous “dumb” vehicles can manage. Which is a very small set.

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