Here is a brief weekly update from the RTA business coalition – the voice of the regional business community on transportation.

RDU launches region’s electric bus era
The RTA has had a long-standing position of supporting electric buses as an attractive, quieter, zero (mobile source) emission, solution. We were pleased to see RTA Leadership Team member RDU Airport Authority formally put into service the region’s first electric buses, which now serve ParkEconomy3 and ParkEconomy4. Even better, GoTriangle, GoRaleigh, Chapel Hill Transit, and Duke University Transit will all bring electric buses into their fleet in the coming months and years. RTA believes that how transit looks and feels — and how it respects its customers and community — will have a tremendous impact on its success. We were also pleased to endorse Duke Energy’s application for a statewide electric transportation pilot program, which includes electric transit infrastructure charging facilities.

Autonomous buses are coming – maybe sooner than we thought
One of the largest cost drivers for transit service — both bus and rail, but especially buses given the comparatively smaller capacity — is the cost of paying the driver. As we explore transit innovations in the United States and elsewhere, we see that automated, electric buses are quickly becoming a reality. From an upcoming mini-bus trial in western Florida, to a recently-completed autonomous shuttle trial in the Australian national capital of Canberra, to Singapore where Volvo will trial full-sized, autonomous buses this year, we expect to see more and more of these, including here in North Carolina later this year. While this topic may appear to be about autonomous vehicles, it is also about enabling a larger and more enhanced transit network — and the additional opportunities and accessibility that provides to citizens — for the same cost to the taxpayer. 

Nearly three score for the Virginia tour
We now have close to 60 people on the RTA tour to Virginia next month. Representatives from multiple universities, cities, and towns, along with a number of elected leaders, will be with us. The tour is a great opportunity to build deeper relationships at a regional level with people who care about the future of their community. Thank you to the Research Triangle Foundation of NC, MetLife, Duke University, and HH Architecture for sponsoring the tour! Please register here to attend ($749) and call me with questions. 

Thank you for your investment in the RTA business coalition!

Let’s get moving, 

Joe

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director