Public transportation is an integral part of our cities, providing vital social, economic, and environmental benefits. That’s why cities around the world invest significant resources to build and maintain public infrastructure — light rail, trains, and buses — that help people commute and move around. However, as cities grow and evolve, the “last mile” — how people connect to public transportation efficiently, affordably, and safely — is one of the main challenges communities struggle to solve.
Waymo is partnering with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority, to explore mobility solutions that use self-driving technology to better connect travelers with the city’s existing buses and light rail.
Working together, Valley Metro and Waymo want to explore how self-driving vehicles could fill transportation and mobility gaps for riders across the Greater Phoenix area.
Testing a solution
The first phase of this partnership, which they plan to launch in August, will offer first- and last-mile transit connections for Valley Metro employees, helping to connect them with public transportation. These riders will be able to use the Waymo app to hail a ride to take them to their nearest public transportation option.
Valley Metro and Waymo will then expand the partnership by providing first- and last-mile travel to Valley Metro RideChoice travelers, which cover groups traditionally underserved by public transit. This will form the basis of joint research to evaluate the adoption of Waymo technology, its impact, and its long-term potential to enable greater access to public transit.
Waymo hopes to open this service to the public to transport more people to Valley Metro transportation hubs in the Phoenix area in the future.
Another step forward
For nearly a decade, Waymo has been working to build the world’s most experienced driver ― one that can make it safe and easy for people and things to move around. Waymo’s goal is to focus on four areas: creating a ride-hailing service, developing self-driving trucks for logistics, licensing with OEMs for personally-owned vehicles, and connecting people to public transportation.
So far in 2018, Waymo has made progress on the other three pillars. Waymo announced a logistics pilot that put self-driving trucks on roads in Atlanta; cemented partnership deals with Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for vehicles to support the launch and expansion of our ride-hailing service; and began discussions with FCA around licensing for personally-owned vehicle
Today’s announcement is an important step toward the fourth area: connecting people to public transportation. As always, Waymo’s goal is to be an enabler rather than a disruptor: to help everyone better utilize the investments and infrastructure that already exist today.