Driverless Shuttle to Start Testing
Dunn Loring Metrorail Station to the Mosaic District

Driverless Shuttle From Metrorail Dunn Loring to Mosaic CenterFairfax County and Dominion Energy are partnering to launch an autonomous electric shuttle, known as Relay, that will operate between the Dunn Loring Metrorail Station and the Mosaic District in Fairfax County. It will be the first test of driverless public transportation in the D.C. region, and it’s also the first state-funded autonomous transportation project in Virginia. In Summer 2020, the shuttle will be on roads around the Mosaic district undergoing testing. A public launch date and other service details will be available soon.

As part of its strategic plan to grow and diversify the economy, Fairfax County continues to encourage innovation and testing of smart technologies to help expand existing business sectors, spark new business growth, nurture the innovation ecosystem, and strengthen partnerships with technology experts, researchers, educational institutions and policy makers.

The pilot project team will test this driverless, public transportation option to evaluate its effectiveness and safety and see how it can be used as a “first and last-mile” transit option to “relay” riders and help connect the community, activate neighborhoods and attract businesses. Relay has various sensors and detection lasers installed all around the vehicle. These sensors and lasers help detect obstacles in several zones around the vehicle and determine the distance that separates them from the shuttle.

This pilot project is a partnership between Fairfax County, Dominion Energy, EDENS (Mosaic), The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and George Mason University (GMU). 

When in operation the shuttle will be free to ride due to a DRPT grant and partnership with Dominion Energy who will provide the shuttle. although no start date is yet available.  This pilot is a public-private partnership. Local, state and private money will pay for this demonstration project. Fairfax County received a $250,000 DPRT grant that includes $50,000 in county matching funds. Dominion Energy is providing the shuttle and related charging infrastructure.

Following a RFP process conducted by Dominion Energy, EasyMile’s EZ10 model has been selected for the pilot. The EZ10 is currently deployed on public and private roads in more than 25 countries on 4 continents.  Relay can hold 12 passengers or 2200 pounds with 6 seated and 6 standing.  However, when public service begins on Relay, service will be limited to 4 people total due to social distancing rules in effect travelelng at 12.5 mph.

EasyMile’s EZ10 model:

  • has a proven track record of over 200 deployments,
  • holds up to 12 passengers,
  • features a full set of sensors, including Lidars, cameras, and GPS to ensure safety, and
  • features a built-in, automated electric wheelchair access ramp.

Safety is the top priority for this project, and keeping employees and passengers safe requires constant diligence. The strategies and actions include:

• All Transdev Safety Operators aboard our autonomous vehicles are required to wear masks and other protective personal equipment.

• We require passengers wear masks or other facial coverings to board our vehicles
• Safety Operators are provided with personal health and safety cleaning kits to spot-clean high-touch areas on the vehicles, such as the seatbelts and handrails.
• Limiting vehicle occupancy for 4 passengers to ensure room for proper social distancing

Vehicles are cleaned and disinfected thoroughly for shared safety including:
• Overnight deep cleaning and disinfection of all vehicles, following a master checklist.
• Interim spot cleaning and disinfecting vehicles during the day.
• The safety attendant also wipes down the common touch areas with disinfectant to ensure employee and passenger safety.


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