D.C. to explore autonomous vehicle program through Interagency AV Working Group

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In an effort to explore an autonomous vehicle (AV) program in the city, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the establishment of the Interagency AV Working Group on Feb. 12. The working group will “proactively prepare the District for AV technologies and ensure that AV deployment will benefit District residents and visitors.”

The working group is made up of District agencies focused on transportation, disability rights, environmental issues, and public safety. It also includes representatives from a variety of entities across D.C., including from the Office of the City Administrator, the District Department of Transportation, and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.

“We will keep the District on the cutting edge of autonomous vehicles and do so in a way that benefits our residents,” Mayor Bowser says. “Washington, DC is a creative, tech-savvy city, and as we grow, we will always be exploring and investing in innovation and finding ways to make it more inclusive.”

In addition to the announcement of the establishment of the Interagency AV Working Group, it was also announced that the Bowser Administration is partnering with the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) to release a Request for Information (RFI) for a AV pilot program on 10th Street, SW.

The SWBID RFI hopes to result in a “first-mile, last-mile” autonomous vehicle pilot program along 10th Street, SW. The street is considered an ideal candidate for an AV pilot zone since it has a manageable daily vehicle volume of approximately 4,300 cars per day.

“The 10th Street SW corridor is currently the fastest way to get from the National Mall – which attracts 20 million annual visitors – to the District’s newest, world-class waterfront destination,” says Steve Moore, executive director of SWBID.

“Our hope is that AVs will enhance this conduit, act as catalyst for innovative mobility solutions across the District, and ultimately create an interconnected, sustainable community. This RFI is just the first step in what we hope will ultimately become a successful – and historic – pilot project.”

In 2017, D.C. began to “proactively explore the transformative effects of autonomous vehicles” by working with city leaders from around the world as part of the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles. D.C. also led a pilot program that introduced Starship Technologies’ driverless delivery robots to the city for testing.

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