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Autonomous Vehicles, New Mobility & the Built Environment Electric Vehicles Smart Driving Car Summit

A New Spin On Rideshare and Carshare -#SDC2022

As 2022 ends, autonomous technology which lowers the costs of and improves the quality of mobility is still just a promise. Fundamentally, technology must serve the needs of those who will use a given mobility solution. By starting with humans at the center of its efforts, Carolina RIDES+ is providing a foundation for understanding how to automate in the future while beginning to serve its goal of “providing transportation to those in need…”

With its rollout of RIDES (Real-time Integrated Data-driven Electric Shared-services), Carolina RIDES+ has begun delivering mobility to those who otherwise could not get to a job, the store, the doctor, or the other places that those of us with a car take for granted. With a goal like the TrentonMOVES effort in New Jersey, Carolina RIDES+, a 501(c)3 public benefit non-profit organization, aims to “provide mobility options, alleviate the financial burden for low-income households, reduce pollution, and boost economic development.”

In the above interview, Furman University students and Carolina RIDES+ interns, Victoria Cruz-Solano, and Whit Buchanan reflect on what they learned at Princeton’s SmartDrivingCars Summit. They also provide an overview of two of Carolina RIDES+’s initial projects.

  • RideShare Pilot: A door-to-door, demand response service to residents of the greater Nicholtown community. Nicholtown is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. QOZs are among America’s poorest census tracts.
  • CarShare Pilot: A two-person, enclosed electric vehicle with a maximum speed of 25 MPH for getting around the downtown Greenville area. As Innova EV writes (PDF), this solution is about “Putting the bike-sharing model on four wheels.”

Affordable Mobility Helps Workforce Development #

Writing in the December 11th issue of the Greenville News, Fred Payne, Chair, CA4I and CA4 Innovation Charities and Coordinator, Carolina RIDES+, provides additional insight into the pilot program and the people it is serving.1

  • RIDES+ provided 823 trips in approximately four months covering 5,517 miles
  • Over 90% of RIDES+ trips were from housing to jobs.
  • The average miles per trip was 6.7 miles and cost approximately $12.55. Note, this compares favorably to metro bus systems, such as Silicon Valley’s VTA, which had a pre-pandemic cost per ride of $16 to $20.

As Payne indicates in his article, they have learned that affordable and reliable mobility is a key element to workforce development. As such, they are reaching out to the community, including workforce and human service agencies, to help provide the funding needed to create a sustainable service. By starting, they are laying the foundation for the potential for more efficient and sustainable operations through automation and electrification.

1 Additional insight about the program is provided in Fred Payne’s August 9th submission to the Greenville News.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on independent telcos’ efforts to offer video to their customers. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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