Impact of Modularized Autonomous Vehicles on Transit System Design and Operations

Modularized Autonomous Vehicle (MAV) is a newcomer in the rapidly evolving AV landscape. Unlike regular AVs, MAVs can operate individually or as an improvised train. By coupling modularity and autonomy, MAVs promise a timely solution to the nation’s struggling transit systems, which have yet to recover from the devastating blow delivered by COVID19. Autonomy powered by clean electricity means lower labor/fuel costs and carbon footprint from transit operations, whereas modularity provides flexible vehicle capacity in response to uncertain passenger demand, as well as opportunity to improve road capacity and energy efficiency (through train forming). This project aims to analyze the impact of MAVs on transit system design and operations. It will also examine how the design of structured transit routes and schedule can take advantage of autonomous modularity to maximize efficiency, optimize user experience, and promote equity.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $80,000 Federal, 40,000 Cost Share, 120,000 Total
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

    2901 Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, Michigan  United States  48109
  • Project Managers:

    Stearns, Amy

  • Performing Organizations:

    Northwestern University, Evanston

    Transportation Center, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    2145 Sheridan Road, A335
    Evanston, IL  United States  60208
  • Principal Investigators:

    Nie, Yu

  • Start Date: 20231001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01906131
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Connected and Automated Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348305
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jan 26 2024 4:50PM