Sarasota-based Cruise Car has won a contract to provide 23 eight-passenger vehicles to the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley campuses in Edinburg and Brownsville, Texas. UT needed eight-passenger vehicles to shuttle students around each campus; eight is the maximum number of passengers allowed in this class of low-speed vehicle—which is U.S. Department of Transportation-certified to travel on roads with speed limits of less than 35 mph—because of a weight ceiling of 3,000 pounds. The standard market configuration is six forward-facing seats and two rear-facing seats; however, UT also wanted to maximize student safety, and people in the two rear-facing seats are vulnerable in rear-end collisions. Cruise Car created a new model with all eight seats facing forward, meeting UT’s dual priorities of maximum passenger count and maximum safety. The back occupants in this design are protected by the body of the vehicle, not just a step plate. Because the model proved to be a success with UT, the company is now going to add the model to its line.