Get ready to ride a new fleet of zero emission shuttles from Houston METRO. Global consulting firm AECOM and METRO partnered on new electric bus initiative and have recently been granted $1.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration to bring the service to Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and Houston's Third Ward neighborhood.
The grant was awarded through the FTA's Accelerating Innovative Mobility, or AIM, initiative and was one of only 25 initiatives across the U.S. to receive FTA funding. The new buses are expected to be fully operational in spring of next year.
"The shuttle will connect to METRO buses and light rail and be studied for potential use in urban, suburban, and rural environments," says Kim Williams, METRO's chief innovation officer, in a news release. "Our industry continues to evolve with new technology that prioritizes clean air quality."
AECOM will manage, plan, and provide engineering support services for the project for METRO, which is a founding member of AECOM's Automated Bus Consortium.
"We're thrilled to work with our longtime partner, METRO, on this exciting AIM initiative and to further progress mobility and innovation in the transit industry while helping our clients achieve their sustainability goals," says Andrew Bui, AECOM's vice president of global transportation electrification, in the release.
"This project will strengthen our ongoing efforts through our Automated Bus Consortium and contribute to Houston's already expansive work in deploying emerging technologies," Bui adds.
The vehicle will be provided by the project's partner Phoenix Motorcars, which makes zero emission, all-electric vehicles via software from EasyMile, a leader in cutting-edge autonomous technology.