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City of San Jose launches autonomous vehicle initiative

The City of San Jose in California has formally launched a new autonomous vehicle (AV) initiative with the release of a request for information (RFI) that invites private-sector companies to provide information about how they might pilot AV deployment projects in the city.

The city authorities have issued the RFI to encourage companies that may be interested in deploying small pilot projects, which will help San Jose explore the potential of AVs to address its transportation challenges. The goal of the initiative is to explore how the city can integrate AVs into its multi-model transportation network and make use of them as a solution to its transportation issues. Like many other large cities, San Jose faces numerous challenges that continues to stretch its existing transportation system, which are likely to become even more severe in the years ahead, as the city’s population is projected to grow an estimated 40% by 2040. However, with much of the autonomous vehicle industry developing its technologies in Silicon Valley, San Jose has a unique opportunity to test how this emerging technology could serve as a potential solution to future demands.

In recent months, city staff have engaged in multiple roundtable discussions with dozens of AV-industry representatives to gain input on how to structure a potential RFI for autonomous vehicle pilot projects. In particular, the city is seeking information about AV technologies and projects that align with the following transportation objectives:

• Eliminate all traffic related fatalities and reduce severe injuries;
• Reduce the environmental impact of vehicle miles traveled;
• Build a balanced and equitable transportation system;
• Create a more livable and walkable city;
• Share and utilize data to optimize its transportation system and protect privacy for residents.

While the city will entertain a wide variety of project concepts, the RFI specifically outlines its interest in partnering on AV demonstration projects that could:

• Provide the missing link between Diridon Station and the Airport;
• Address the heavily-traveled Stevens Creek / San Carlos Corridor;
• Integrate AVs into the rich, multi-modal downtown environment;
• Integrate AVs into the jobs-heavy North San Jose Transportation Innovation Zone;
• Connect the Homeless Veterans Emergency Housing Facility to Capitol Light Rail Station.

Mayor Sam Liccardo (above right) said, “Through this initiative, and our broader Smart City Vision, we’ll explore pilot projects that will provide us a deep, data-driven look at how autonomous vehicles might serve as a solution to our city’s transportation needs, and improve our residents’ quality of life.”

June 7, 2017

Written by Adam Frost

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