Sun City launches 55+ public AV transit

  • May 1, 2023
  • William Payne

Arizona community Sun City has launched an autonomous on-demand shared public transit service. The new service is the first public transit service using autonomous vehicles in Arizona. The service is aimed at supporting the 55+ age-range. The service will be provided by May Mobility, and engineered by transit tech specialist Via.

Sun City is an unincorporated community in the Phoenix metropolitan area. With a population of 40,000, the community covers 14.5 square miles (38 km2), and has a predominately retired population.

The deployment will employ Via’s AI-based booking and intelligent routing software to service May Mobility’s accessible fleet.

The goal of the deployment is to use AVs to expand access to safe, reliable and equitable on-demand transport for adults 55 and older. May Mobility also seeks to understand how its technology can be adopted and address the specific mobility challenges faced by ageing adults.

The service will operate Monday to Friday from 7 am to 5 pm through resident complexes, recreation centres, grocery stores, pharmacies and medical centres.

“We’re fundamentally changing public transit, making it easier and more desirable than having a personal car,” said Edwin Olson, CEO for May Mobility. “People are living longer, and we believe that ageing populations stand to gain greater access to mobility with autonomous vehicle technology. We’re committed to providing safe, reliable transportation for people who don’t want to or can’t drive themselves.”

“Via is proud to partner with May Mobility to introduce dynamically-routed, shared AVs to Arizona for the first time,” said Meghan Grela, Autonomous Lead at Via. “Our organisations are united by the vision that advanced technology is key to expanding access to efficient mobility for riders of all ages and needs, and we believe Sun City is a model for innovative, inclusive public transportation for other communities around the world.”