Minnesota Department of Transportation Pilots Autonomous Shuttle Service in Rochester, MN 2021
5 minutes Date Launched: Oct 1, 2021 Dates given are approximate. Pilot Project Timeframe: 1 year
Credit: Minnesota Department of Transportation
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is piloting the Med City Mover, an electric autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle service. Currently, the Med City Mover has a fleet of two AVs that run in a 1.5 mile loop in downtown Rochester. Vehicles, which are supported by EasyMile, an AV technology company, operate at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour and have six seats. An attendant staffs each ride and can manually operate the vehicle if necessary. The Med City Mover route has two stops: the Gonda Building at the Mayo Clinic and the People’s Food Co-op, a local grocery store. Alongside EasyMile, MnDOT, and the Mayo Clinic, other key partners in this pilot include the City of Rochester, First Transit, and Destination Medical Center. Rides on the Med City Mover are fare-free and the service operates from 9 AM to 3:30 PM during the week and from 9 AM to 5 PM during the weekends.
MnDOT is supporting the Med City Mover with a $1.5 million budget. The agency and its partners are using this project to research how AVs might operate in colder climates with higher levels of snow. Passengers are prompted to complete a pre-ride survey as they wait for the arrival of a Med City Mover at either of the two stops. If this project is successful, the Med City Mover has the potential to support short trips near downtown Rochester and the Mayo Clinic for the long term.