How Will Driverless Vehicles Impact Greenville, Mauldin and Clemson?
A study of the feasibility of automated transit networks (ATN) with ultralight GreenPod vehicles to improve mobility and reduce congestion is being undertaken in Greenville, Mauldin and Clemson. Funding is through the Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study with a Unified Planning Work Program grant from the Federal Transit Administration, and matching funding from Greenville County and the Cities of Greenville, Mauldin and Clemson. GreenPods are small, driverless vehicles that operate on dedicated guideways. Because the guideways are separated (usually by elevating them) from other traffic and pedestrians, they increase safety by reducing accidents and relieve congestion by removing passengers from roadways, GreenPods provide convenient quick trips independent of road congestion. Secure, comfortable GreenPods travel non-stop on mainline guideways with numerous stations on offline sidings. 

The study will also investigate the use of gondolas for crossing Lake Hartwell between High Pointe and the Madren Conference Center at Clemson University. In addition, the use of autonomous shuttles and taxis will be considered to supplement the GreenPods.
Public Workshops
Public workshops will be held to both inform about the study and gather feedback.

  • Wednesday, March 28, 2:00-4:30 PM at County Square, 301 University Ridge, Greenville, SC Conference Room D

  • Thursday, March 29, 6-8:30 PM at Fire Station, 740 Issaqueena Trail, Clemson, SC, Community Room
 
Participants will interact about 21st Century transportation and discuss:

  • Compare Driverless Options: GreenPods? Gondolas? Autonomous Shuttles (A-Taxis)?

  • Understand Driverless Features: Safe, On-Demand, Comfortable, Cost-effective?

  • Learn more about your personal transportation preferences.

  • Help shape the community‚Äôs future transport options! 

Personal Rapid Transit Evaluation
The first study of GreenPods in Greenville was undertaken in 2014. It compared GreenPods to a bus rapid transit solution in a former rail corridor parallel to Laurens Road that connects downtown Greenville through Verdae to the CU-ICAR Campus (See video link below).
 
The higher capital cost of a GreenPods system were offset by lower operating costs while the improved level of service meant that the GreenPods solution would attract about three times the ridership. Nonetheless, the ridership was projected to be less than that required to obtain federal transit system funding. 


GSP Airport Preliminary Personal Rapid Transit Feasibility Study
This study was completed in 2015 and found that a PRT system could connect to the existing and proposed new parking lots in seven minutes compared to up to seventeen minutes by shuttle bus. It also found that autonomous shuttle buses were not as good a solution.

While the PRT solution was found to provide higher levels of service with increased net revenues, the Airport Authority decided to put the project on hold pending completion of the master plan study currently in progress.

Transportation Options for Greenville
This 2017 conceptual study investigated four options for improving 21st Century transportation in Greenville, South Carolina. It concluded that an automated transit network (ATN) with GreenPods solution is a key ingredient in any mix of transportation solutions.
 
The costs involved in implementing an ATN solution are expected to be recovered many times over in the benefits of improved mobility, safety and reduced congestion. Greenville could be a leader in exploring this option. If the benefits outweigh the costs and leaders want an ATN-facilitated transportation solution, a private-sector approach c ould be within reach.