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Executive Spotlight: Racquel Asa, Beep

Posted: 07/29/2021
Category: Member Spotlight

Beep delivers autonomous mobility solutions for public and private partners utilizing the best of breed driverless electric shuttles. Through our unique process, planning and products we seamless connect people and places with autonomous shuttles with first-mile and last-mile connectivity. Our public road projects allow us to gather data and learnings to develop software meant to enhance safe operation of these vehicle on the road.

What are you and your organization seeking to achieve?

We are seeking to enhance how people connect to key destinations within communities by providing safer and sustainable mobility whether it’s through the autonomous shuttles we put on the road or the software we develop to increase the capabilities of these vehicles.

How did you get to where you are today?

I feel in love with all things transportation and learning new ways we can innovate alternative modes of transportation whether it’s through repurposing existing infrastructure for new use or providing communities with a new mode of connectivity. Transportation is one of the few unifying factors between all people and at Beep we seek to provide that a level of mobility equity for all people and places. As for our company, Beep started testing autonomous shuttles in Lake Nona, a 17-square mile planned development, with one route on the road in September 2019. We have since grown our testing in Lake Nona to the largest and longest autonomous shuttle fleet at one location in the United States with five routes and eight shuttles connecting 10 key destinations. Our projects with planned communities and public transit partners have allowed us to expand the testing of autonomous vehicles across different use cases. 

How have you seen the TDM industry change?

Riders and commuters have grown accustomed to having connectivity available at their fingertips and that also includes access to reliable and predictable mobility. Whether it’s through ride-share, micro-mobility, or personal vehicles, riders and commuters always seek the path of least resistance. Enabling alternative transportation is critical to meeting people where they are and what they expect, if we can not meet rider and commuter needs with new modes of transportation, user adoption will be difficult and therefore have minimal impact on reducing road congestion, making roads safer and increasing connectivity.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 10 years?

Younger generations are placing less importance on gaining a drivers license and owning a personal vehicle, however their need to connect with their community and people remains at an all time high. These generations have embraced shared-mobility beyond the traditional transit model and are seeking a means of transportation that is different than the status quo. Additionally, live, work, play communities are becoming increasingly popular as many companies still provide work from home (WFH) opportunities for employees. As many move away from city centers seeking more space because the of reduced need to be “in the city”, community-based shared transit needs to be implemented in such live, work, play communities to reduce personal vehicle dependency, reduce congestion and provide people with alternative mobility to key destinations within a community.

What brought you to ACT? What has been the most memorable part of your involvement in ACT?

Solving the transportation challenges of our communities, whether it’s locally, regionally or nationally, is not a one-size fits all approach. Different areas require different approaches to user adoption of alternatives modes of mobility. Beep wants to connect with other leaders in the commuter space to learn from others how all our solutions can work together.

What keeps you motivated?

Identifying with communities, learning their unique challenges and discovering how autonomous mobility can enhance connectivity. Additionally, being able to work with public transit partners and test autonomous shuttles to work within their existing networks to complement and supplement their services is exciting.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your career?

Being able to train first responders and engage with the disabled community in each of our project locations is both rewarding and fulfilling. I am a firm believer that all members of the community need to be involved in autonomous shuttle projects so all stakeholders can understand how the technology works and how they can interact with the vehicles. This level of engagement allows us to help influence the roadmap and development of these vehicles for the future.

What is a great piece of advice you have received? Have you put it to use?

Don’t be afraid of something you haven’t tried. I put this into practice on a regular basis in my role at Beep. Many people are hesitant toward autonomous vehicles and shuttles, but have never experienced or taken a ride. Through community engagement in each of our project areas, education is vital in gaining public trust with our shared autonomous model and people’s perception of autonomous shuttles.

Any additional thoughts to share?

All great innovations and ideas start with an imagination to dream of something different

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