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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”