Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Companies like Bridj, Ford and Sweden's Kutsuplus have shut down their microtransit shuttle services, in part because optimizing the trips has proven both difficult and costly.

The big picture: In theory, moving more people with fewer vehicles is a good business model. But microtransit requires companies to purchase and maintain vehicles and to pay drivers for the duration of their shift, not just when they are carrying paying passengers.

AVs could eliminate driver costs and reduce navigation errors, but improving the efficiency of their routes requires crunching massive data loads in real time.

Where it stands: Cities, companies and researchers are reworking algorithms to make shared routes more efficient, to minimize both congestion and extra transit time for passengers.

  • Microtransit provider Via and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation are running a pilot that focuses on "last mile" travel from transit stops.
  • Using computer models, a team at the University of Texas found that 1 shared vehicle could replace 11 single-occupancy vehicles around Austin, with wait times between 20 seconds and 5 minutes.
  • Bestmile data scientists found that 200 shared, on-demand vehicles could accommodate the 31,000 rides taken in 2,700 Chicago taxis each day with average wait times of five minutes and added ride times of six minutes.
  • A McKinsey analysis found that, as soon as 2030, shared "seamless" mobility could accommodate 30% more traffic while cutting travel time by 10%.

What to watch: The EU's AVENUE project is rolling out last mile autonomous shuttles in four cities to connect workers and residents with long-haul public transit and to determine the requirements for replicating successful service elsewhere.

Raphael Gindrat is co-founder and CEO of Bestmile, which has developed a fleet-management platform.

Go deeper

Texas city declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in water supply

Characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Texas authorities have issued a warning amid concerns that the water supply in the southeast of the state may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri following the death of a 6-year-old boy.

Details: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a "do not use" water alert Friday for eight cities, along with the Clemens and Wayne Scott Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections centers and the Dow Chemical plant in Freeport. This was later lifted for all places but one, Lake Jackson, which issued a disaster declaration Saturday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 32,746,147 — Total deaths: 991,678 — Total recoveries: 22,588,064Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 7,007,450 — Total deaths: 204,486 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.
Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What they're saying: Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Democratic and Republican lawmakers along with other leading political figures reacted to President Trump's Saturday afternoon nomination of federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

What they're saying: "President Trump could not have made a better decision," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an exceptionally impressive jurist and an exceedingly well-qualified nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States."