May 27, 2021
The City of Arlington’s innovative on-demand Via Rideshare public transport service, which now incorporates autonomous vehicles, has been recognized as a Recipient of the 2021 Smart 50 award.
This annual award, presented in partnership with Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and US Ignite, recognizes smart city projects from around the world with current or future impact and application at the municipal level.
Before the launch of Via carpooling, the city did not have a public transport system. In December 2017, Arlington made history as one of the first cities in the country to develop a transit system based solely on a carpool service. Through a public-private partnership with Via Transportation, Inc., the City has launched a unique on-demand carpooling service to meet the community’s transit needs. Via has provided continuous high quality service through several progressive expansions of the service area, demonstrating growing community support and increased ridership.
Due to the positive impact on the community, Arlington’s Via Rideshare service expanded in January 2021 to serve all of the city’s 99 square miles. The service was further extended in March 2021 to include Arlington RAPID, an autonomous vehicle carpooling option for passengers traveling through the downtown area or the University of Texas on the Arlington campus.
The number of Via riders has grown steadily since the service began, and community feedback continues to support the ability of the on-demand system to provide an efficient and affordable form of public transportation. To date, nearly 600,000 trips have been made on the Via system and more than 63,800 Via accounts have been created. Customer satisfaction rates have remained around 95-97% throughout the lifespan of the service.
The Via Rideshare service has been recognized as influential for the use of innovative technologies and collaborative data sharing to provide a new transportation option for underserved populations in harsh and low density environments. The flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness of the Via system make it easy to replicate in other cities seeking to provide more and better transportation options to their residents.
Arlington will receive the award at the Smart Cities Connect fall conference and exhibition in October.