A demand-responsive transport (DRT) service will begin at the University of Warwick this April enabling staff, students and locals to request a pick-up from a virtual bus stop.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said the DRT solution will offer the convenience of a taxi but with the environmental benefits of a conventional bus service, helping to reduce car use and traffic congestion in the region.
A ‘Bus On-Demand’ app, powered by public mobility company Via, will coordinate routes and journeys based on customer demand.
An algorithm will enable multiple riders to share the vehicle and direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick-up and drop-off.
TfWM said this will allow for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
If an on-demand bus journey isn’t available, the app will provide details of alternative methods of public transport, along with costs.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, said: “This is a pioneering new type of bus services that uses the latest app technology to offer a bus where you want it and at the right time within the zone, rather than restricted to set routes and timetables.
“We are piloting these new services for those commuting between the University of Warwick campuses – but if successful and sustainable we will look at expanding it to other areas across the West Midlands.”
The on-demand service, the first of its kind in the region, is operated by Via and CoachScanner, with funding from TfWM and the university.
It forms part of the region’s Future Mobility Showcase, a two-year partnership between TfWM, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority, and the University of Warwick to pilot transport modes and technology designed to reduce private car use.
The trial will explore how a DRT service works in Coventry in a post-Covid-19 environment.