Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida
Creating a first-mile, last-mile solution along a redeveloped waterfront and tourist corridor with a transit agency
“We are beyond excited for the community to try this all new experience with AVA. Like an attraction at Disney World, we hope all who come to enjoy AVA leave with a better understanding of how technology can help enhance safety all while providing clean-energy solutions that could transform transportation,” said Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer of PSTA.
AVA, short for Autonomous Vehicle Advantage, launched on Bayshore Drive with Beep and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Agency on November 25, 2020 in the City of Saint Petersburg. It is the first, fully electric autonomous vehicle fleet launched by a transit agency in mixed traffic. Through the Florida Department of Transportation funded project, Beep is partnering with PSTA to provide a first-mile and last-mile solution along Bayshore Drive with four stops connecting a hotel, museums, pier, yacht club and Cross Bay ferry service.
The pilot operated until late-March with service on Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 10:00pm. The free shuttle service operated alongside a bi-directional bike path, cars, buses and other modes of transportation. The vehicle was equipped with an ADA-compliant ramp and a Q’Straint system that is deployed by the onboard co-pilot to assist passengers.
By connecting key destinations in the community with alternative transportation options, Beep reduced the equivalent of nearly 2,700 vehicle trips off the road by transporting nearly 5,000 passengers. The number of vehicle trips on the road also reduced the carbon footprint in the community with sustainable mobility with the vehicles being 100% electric.
Future plans for PSTA include testing additional autonomous shuttle platforms in Dunedin and Clearwater.
Learn more: AVA Shuttle | PSTA
“AVA is another example of PSTA leading the way in innovation in transportation by bringing in unique and futuristic technology that can benefit our community,” said Joe Barkley, Chair of the PSTA Board.
“…shares its entire route with cars, bicyclists, buses…” - Tampa Bay Times
“…. first of its kind autonomous vehicle pilot…” - Mass Transit Magazine
“…help safely connect people to places…” - I Love the Burg
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority