Councilman believes autonomous vehicles could be transit solution

Councilman Robert Swope believes autonomous vehicles could be a solution to Nashville's transit problems. (WSMV)

Traffic in Nashville is a growing problem, but can autonomous vehicles be a solution?

Councilman Robert Swope thinks it might be.

The vehicles are completely powered by electricity and will hold up to 15 people. You would see them on the highway.

Swope is proposing double-stacked highways with lanes devoted to autonomous vehicles.

“The future of transit in Nashville brings me out here today,” said Swope.

Swope said this autonomous vehicle could be the solution to Nashville’s traffic nightmare.

He said this will be the future of transit as early as next year.

“I introduced a plan called intelligent transit which not only incorporates intelligent autonomous vehicles but double-stacked highways with dedicated electric and autonomous vehicle lanes,” said Swope.

His plan encompasses 10 counties in Middle Tennessee.

“This is not meant to take you from Rutherford County to Davidson County,” said Swope. “It’s meant to get you around downtown or to get you to do crosstown routes of 3 to 5 miles.”

He said it costs less to purchase and operate, meaning a low fare.

Navia is the French company that makes the vehicles. Some are made in Michigan.

“It is a low-speed vehicle,” said Tim Schrock, business developer, North America East. “It’s going to operation around 15-16 miles an hour at its average speed, but it’s going to deliver people safely.”

Swope is also proposing the use of autonomous trains, which are currently being developed and tested.

Swope said there is currently enough money in the capital budget to support his plan.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



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