Item Coversheet



TO: Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee Members

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: May 22, 2018



Ensure Comprehensive Mobility Addressing All Modes Throughout The City


The City of Las Vegas, Nevada has deployed the first driverless mass transit test program in the country.  Since its launch in November 2017, the autonomous shuttle has provided 10,000 riders a free lift around a 0.6-mile stretch of downtown Las Vegas.  The test program was co-created by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Keolis, a French transportation company, with the actual shuttle manufactured by a self-driving car startup company - Navya ARMA (see Attachment A for vehicle photo). Below is a January 14, 2018 article from the Business Insider entitled “I tried the first self-driving mass transit in the United States – and now I’m excited for the future of travel,” which provides additional information on the Las Vegas Autonomous Shuttle Pilot.  The article may also be viewed at:


Las Vegas Autonomous Shuttle Test Program

Pursuant to the City Commission's request to explore launching a similar driverless mass transit test program in Miami Beach, Transportation Department staff reached out to City of Las Vegas and Keolis who operates the pilot program.  Based on information provided by the City of Las Vegas staff, the current program will be in effect for a year (until November 2018). 

Based on Staff's communications with Keolis who operates the Navya vehicle in Las Vegas, deployment of one (1) test shuttle vehicle would cost approximately $700,000 for one (1) year of pilot testing.  This cost would include leasing one (1) Navya shuttle for one (1) year at a cost of $135,000, plus $45,000 per month for operation, insurances, one (1) trailer vehicle, and the required Keolis personnel (2 people).   .  An option could be to purchase the autonomous shuttle for approximately $263,000.  Under that scenario, the cost to the City would be approximately $800,000 for the first year of pilot testing. 

The cost is being fully subsidized by AAA who has a relationship with the technology provider.

The shuttle service operates eight (8) hours a day/six (6) days a week (Tuesday through Sunday), from 11AM-7PM, with multiple pick-up and drop-off locations along the route.  The shuttle operates in mixed traffic and the test vehicle is equipped with air conditioning.  The test vehicle is able to operate a full day of service with fully charged batteries and no need to re-charge.

Based on staff's conversations with Keolis, the capacity of the test shuttle vehicle is 11 passengers seating plus up to 4 standing passengers; however, due to liability and insurance requirements, standing is currently not allowed inside the test vehicle.  Although the autonomous shuttle currently operating in Las Vegas is not ADA accessible, it was allowed to operate as a prototype vehicle in a test environment as part of the demonstration program.  The manufacturer is working on designing an ADA accessible shuttle that will be available in the near future.       

From an operational perspective, while the shuttle is fully autonomous, one (1) Keolis staff member must always be present on board the test vehicle.  Additionally, to decrease the likelihood of the test vehicle being rear-ended, a second Keolis staff member in a separate vehicle must continuously follow the test vehicle during service hours.  While the test vehicle is able to operate at higher speeds, the maximum operating speed is limited to 15 MPH for safety and liability reasons.


University of Michigan Autonomous Shuttle

During the Fall of 2017, driverless shuttle service was launched at the University of Michigan's North Campus to transport students, faculty, and staff along a nonstop two (2) mile route between the Lurie Engineering Center and the university's North Campus Research Complex.  Similar to the Las Vegas autonomous shuttle program, this service also uses  autonomous vehicles manufactured by Navya.  This shuttle service operates on university roads during service hours and at no cost to riders.  Two (2) shuttles operate at approximately 10 minute service frequency.  Transportation Department staff has reached out to University of Michigan and is currently gathering information regarding the cost of the service and other pertinent information on this particular program. 

Other Autonomous Shuttle Test Programs

While staff has been able to reach out to City of Las Vegas and obtain information on its autonomous shuttle test program, there are various pilot programs throughout the country, including City of Jacksonville, Florida; Arlington, Texas, and Minnesota Department of Transportation.  These two (2) pilot programs are all using an autonomous shuttle vehicle supplied by  EasyMile (see Attachment B for vehicle photo)  rather than Navya.




Financial Update

Based on Staff's communications with Easy Mile, who operates the pilot program in Jacksonville, the cost of leasing one (1) vehicle for a one-year period, including maintenance and insurance costs, would be approximately $150,000.  To this cost, Transportation Department staff estimates that an additional approximately $100,00 would be required for personnel to operate the service for approximately 8 hour/day. Thus, the total cost of a 1-year pilot with Easy Mile is estimated at $250,000 as compared to the Las Vegas model of $700,000.


Potential Pilot Corridors in Miami Beach

Transportation Department staff preliminarily evaluated corridors in the City which could be considered for potential autonomous mass transit shuttle service.  Given the low operating speed of the vehicle, this service could serve as a pedestrian accelerator and trolley connector along corridors not currently served by the City's Trolley service.  Based on staff's preliminary assessment, the following corridors could be considered for potential implementation of an autonomous mass transit shuttle test program in the City:

  • Meridian Avenue between 1st Street and Lincoln Road

  • Collins Avenue between South Pointe Drive and Lincoln Road

  • Ocean Drive between 1st Street and 15th Street


Sponsorship Update

The Marketing and Communications team has been working on sponsorship opportunities for July 4, Memorial Day,  City of Kindness, and indoor cycling initiatives from the Commission but will continue reaching out to entities for a potential sponsorship to assist in funding a pilot program in Miami Beach. 

This item is presented to the Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee for discussion and further direction.

Attachment A - NavyaOther
Attachment B - EasyMileOther