MnDOT launches Med City Mover automated shuttle project in Rochester

(ABC 6 News) – Two low-speed, driverless, electric, multi-passenger shuttles called the Med City Mover are now available for free public rides in downtown Rochester.

This is the first automated pilot project to travel Minnesota streets. MnDOT and its partners will gather data and user-experience information during the year-long project to help prepare for the safe and expanded use of this technology in transportation.

“Partnership projects like this are essential to better understand the benefits, challenges and risks of automated technology,” said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “Community engagement is also a priority – feedback from riders about their experiences on these vehicles will help us continue to improve our transportation system and create a future that prioritizes travel options, reliability and sustainability.”

The Med City Mover shuttle project is a partnership that involves MnDOT, the city of Rochester, Destination Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, First Transit and EasyMile.

During the pilot project, MnDOT and its partners hope to:

  • Engage and educate the public by providing real world automated vehicle experience
  • Identify infrastructure gaps and solutions to safely operate automated vehicles on public roadways
  • Advance the operation of automated vehicle technology in winter weather conditions
  • Provide an enhanced transportation experience and increase mobility in a high-demand downtown urban environment

While the shuttles are driverless, an attendant will always accompany each shuttle following state law to verify the safe operation of the vehicle and aid passengers as needed.

The two, six-passenger shuttles will operate Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, except holidays, through August 2022. The vehicles travel up to 15-miles per hour, making two stops along the route. Motorists may encounter these slower moving vehicles when traveling downtown Rochester and should take additional caution.

Learn more about this project and sign up for email updates at the Med City Mover project website.