The majority of funding for the system and program comes from private contributions. DriveOhio, the smart mobility initiative of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), will also provide funding and oversight.
Up to 10 self-driving electric shuttles, provided by May Mobility Inc., will start circling downtown Columbus tourist spots. Three of these vehicles will be operating at any one time between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. The public can get free rides for at least the first year. Each vehicle has an operator who can seize control of the vehicle. The program is divided into three phases:
Phase 1: the first route on the 1.5-mile Scioto Mile tourist route
Phase 2: a second route on Ohio State’s campus
Phase 3: a third route (to-be-determined) to a major employment center
The $4 million estimate includes costs for all three of these deployment phases, including the hiring of approximately 26 staff.