One of the larger concerns with the rise of AVs and ride-sourcing services has been its potential drain on transit riders that could – even with only a draw on few riders – make transit itself economically infeasible. This article from the New York Times discusses the development of AV micro-transit 12 person shuttles that might be just the boon transit has been looking for.
These shuttles are being developed in Europe and focus on slow (20 mph), limited range travel. While these shuttles would never be able to provide desirable alternatives for cross town trips, they are ideal for getting people to and from transit. Due to the shared destination/origin point of transit, this type of shared mobility on demand would greatly extend the catchment and draw of main line bus and rail transit. The limited areas it would travel to and from (around a transit stop) make the technology much easier to attain in the near term. This provides a hopeful version of the future where AVs might actually help transit oriented development instead of destroying it.