Georgia Institute of Technology and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) have launched MARTA Reach, a six-month pilot on-demand rideshare service designed to connect riders to-and-from MARTA’s bus and rail services.

MARTA Reach will test how on-demand shuttles can be used to make it easier and faster for customers to get to their destinations using scheduled MARTA services and help minimise waiting.

“This pilot program combines on-demand rideshare with public transit, providing personal transportation at a low cost, and will be a vital connection to the larger MARTA system for those customers in areas underserved by transit,” said MARTA Interim General Manager Collie Greenwood. “I’m eager to see how it’s used, it’s efficiency and whether the program could be adopted and expanded to help complement our upcoming bus network redesign.”

Professor Pascal Van Hentenryck and Georgia Tech’s Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) team is providing the technology, including routing logic, and rider, operator and administrator system apps for the project.

“MARTA’s leadership is very forward-thinking, and they are working to determine the future of public transportation,” said Van Hentenryck. “They have been extremely collaborative throughout the process and provided us with vast amounts of data and insights to drive the process.”

“Georgia Tech’s mission calls us to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. To use our research and expertise to improve lives and livelihoods. That’s why we’re here. We’re grateful for the opportunity, for the support of MARTA and the National Science Foundation and for the great work by Professor Van Hentenryck’s team,” added Ángel Cabrera, president, Georgia Institute of Technology.

To order a ride download the MARTA Reach app from a smartphone’s mobile app store. The app will guide riders to designated pick-up and drop-off stops near the beginning or end of a trip. Riders can request additional stop locations in the app.

Riders who do not have a smartphone can call MARTA Customer Service to request a ride. All MARTA Reach vehicles are wheelchair and stroller accessible. MARTA and Georgia Tech Research Cooperation received a $1 million grant in Autumn 2021 from the US National Science Foundation to pilot the program.