Case Study


Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA



Use Case

Public, on-demand microtransit replacing fixed route


5 vehicles


autonomous rides provided in first 6 months


minute average ETA


average trips per rider


Via partnered with autonomous vehicle provider May Mobility, the City of Grand Rapids, and automotive electronics supplier Gentex Corporation to launch the first publicly available autonomous on-demand system in Michigan. The shared microtransit service, Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (AVGR), which began as a fixed route autonomous shuttle following the City’s Downtown Area Shuttle West Route, was transitioned to an entirely on-demand service. Dynamic, on-demand service enables passengers to travel anywhere they wish at any time, instead of being restricted to a fixed set and sequence of stops. 


In July 2021, on-demand autonomous microtransit launched in Grand Rapids. The service, AVGR, was composed of five May Mobility vehicles, including one wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Using Via’s white-labeled rider app, passengers booked free trips across downtown Grand Rapids, Monday through Friday, from 7am to 7pm. With Via’s AV solution, after a trip is booked, the app directs riders to a convenient nearby pickup point to meet their shared ride. Via’s platform then powers the routing and fleet assignment. AVGR vehicles complemented the City’s Downtown Area Shuttle West Route, extending into the Westside neighborhoods. Many riders used the service to facilitate trips to other forms of transit at Amtrak’s Vernon J. Ehlers Station and Rapid Central Station, the city’s primary hub for bus travel. Other popular destinations included restaurants, shops, and offices throughout the city. 

The move from fixed route to on-demand expanded the service zone from 1 square mile to 4.2 square miles. AVGR was outfitted with technology to enhance the customer experience: Via’s in-vehicle screens enabled riders to confirm boarding with a QR code and provide real-time trip information, while sensing pods in the vehicles helped May Mobility and Gentex develop technology to track lost objects, monitor passenger safety, and maintain vehicle cleanliness. 

The AVGR pilot provided valuable insights into public acceptance of autonomous transit technology and on-demand transit services that May Mobility and Via will use to inform future AV deployments.

  • Fleet: 4 Lexus RX450h and 1 WAV Polaris GEM
  • Service Zone: 4.2 square miles 
  • Hours of Service: Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm

Utilizing Via’s technology has helped us take [our] vision to the next level and continue our track record of bringing tangible benefits to riders and communities today.”

Shana Downs
Director of Sales and Channel Management, May Mobility

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