We will educate our community on autonomous vehicle technology and use self-driving shuttles to connect residents to jobs and community resources to help them live their best lives.
Use self-driving shuttles to close transportation gaps to reaching public transportation, affordable housing, healthy food, childcare, recreation and education.
Smart Columbus partnered with DriveOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Transportation, to learn more about what autonomous vehicle technology is capable of today. Together, we launched Smart Circuit, Ohio’s first self-driving shuttle, in December 2018. Smart Circuit circled the Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus, providing free rides to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Bicentennial Park and the Smart Columbus Experience Center. Smart Circuit offered residents and visitors a hands-on educational experience with self-driving technology. The shuttle operated daily on its 1.5 mile route providing over 16,000 rides until September 2019, when the pilot concluded.
During community research, the Smart Columbus team heard Linden residents voice the need to better connect to key community assets such as St. Stephen’s Community House and the Linden Transit Center. Smart Columbus researched the practical and technical feasibility of four routes linking community resources. Ultimately, we chose a route that will help to solve “first-mile / last-mile” mobility challenges in the Linden neighborhood by providing free rides between St. Stephen’s Community House, Douglas Community Recreation Center, Rosewind and Linden Transit Center. Together, these locations provide residents with resources they need to live their best lives, including public transportation, affordable housing, healthy food, childcare, recreation and more.
Smart Columbus' second shuttle was named the Linden LEAP (Linden Empowers All People), which launched February 2020 and operated for about two weeks before an on-board incident paused passenger operations. When the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the ability to return to passenger service, the City reimagined the mission of the vehicles, launching a food pantry delivery service in July 2020, concluding in April 2021. This service distributed 3,598 food pantry boxes, equivalent of almost 130,000 meals.