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Autonomous vehicles with a safety attendant will shuttle NY commuters. Photo: Optimus Ride

A flurry of recent developments shows how innovative companies are targeting real transportation problems in American cities.

Driving the news: Optimus Ride begins automated-vehicle service Wednesday at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre industrial park.

  • 6 automated electric shuttles will carry passengers on a closed, 1-mile loop throughout the campus that includes a new ferry stop and the Yard's Cumberland Gate at Flushing Avenue.
  • With no other public transit on the site, the shuttles are a vital cog for some New Yorkers' multimodal commute.

Details: In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Via is launching an on-demand paratransit service in partnership with the city's public transit system, The Rapid.

  • The 6-month pilot will offer seniors and persons with disabilities on-demand transportation service, with 15 minutes or less wait time.
  • The app-based service is intended to replace the city's current paratransit system, which requires reservations up to 4 days ahead.

Also in Grand Rapids (a new hotbed of mobility innovation), May Mobility recently launched its driverless shuttles on a 3.2-mile downtown bus route in the city.

  • The 6-passenger shuttles are staffed by a safety attendant in the driver's seat and have a top speed of 25 mph.
  • The program, funded by a public-private partnership, aims to address congestion issues in the city and introduce alternative modes of transportation.

Go deeper: Women are less trusting of self-driving cars

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.