(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Bowser today announced new efforts to explore an autonomous vehicle (AV) program by establishing the Interagency AV Working Group to proactively prepare the District for AV technologies and ensure that AV deployment will benefit District residents and visitors. The working group is comprised of District agencies focused on transportation, disability rights, environmental issues, and public safety. Additionally, 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.
“We will keep the District on the cutting edge of autonomous vehicles and do so in a way that benefits our residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “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.”
On Friday, Mayor Bowser embarked upon a jobs mission to Silicon Valley to pitch Washington, DC as an ideal location for tech companies, promote the District as the capital of inclusive innovation, and visit potential job creators. The jobs mission included meetings with companies that are bringing jobs to Washington, DC, like Yelp and Apple and innovative transportation companies like Uber and the Boring Company.
The SWBID RFI hopes to result in a “first-mile, last-mile” autonomous vehicle pilot program along 10th Street, SW, adjacent to L’Enfant Plaza. The street, which connects the National Mall via Independence Avenue and Banneker Park to The Wharf, sits above I-395, and, with a manageable daily vehicle volume of approximately 4,300 cars per day, is an ideal candidate for an AV pilot zone.
“Washington’s Southwest Waterfront is in the midst of a renaissance,” said Steve Moore, executive director of SWBID. “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. 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.”
The District’s Interagency AV Working Group includes representatives from the Office of the City Administrator, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, District Department of Transportation, Office of Planning, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Metropolitan Police Department, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Department of Energy and the Environment, Department of General Services, Department of For-Hire Vehicles, Office on Aging, and Office of Disability Rights.
The District began to proactively explore the transformative effects of autonomous vehicles last year by collaborating with city leaders from around the world as part of the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles. The District also led a pilot program, with oversight by the District Department of Transportation, that introduced Starship Technologies’ driverless delivery robots in Logan Circle and around 14th Street, NW.