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Autonomous Vehicles Working Group

DC is preparing for the emergence of self-driving vehicles. The Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Working Group, established by Mayor Bowser in February 2018 (Mayor's Order 2018-018), engages in peer-to-peer learning with national and local stakeholders to explore the implications and potential of autonomous vehicles for equitable, sustainable, and safe mobility; accessibility; workforce development and employment; and a range of other issues. In January 2017, the District became a member of the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, a group of global cities that has produced a set of principles and tools to plan for driverless technologies.

Initial AV Research and Study

The District's AV Working Group developed an AV Principles Statement more specific to the District’s needs. In doing so, it recognized the need for a flexible approach in preparing for AV opportunities and challenges. The principles allow the District to embrace innovation when it benefits residents and visitors, and to highlight the importance of adaptability and learning from governmental peers.

The Working Group also developed an AV Agency Impact Matrix showing which District agencies will be involved in the various components of the District’s AV landscape. For instance, six agencies will be directly involved with AV driver and passenger safety, and another set of agencies will be involved in AV environmental sustainability and impacts. The AV Principles Statement also references the impact matrix.

In April 2020, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) issued a study report on the potential effects that AVs would have on the District. Its findings highlighted the potential for this technology but noted it would result in increased vehicle miles traveled in the District. To mitigate this, the study recommended that the District adopt policies that incentivize shared rides and shifts to alternative modes of transportation.

AV Working Group Recommendations to the Mayor

The recommendations presented to Mayor Bowser in November 2021 offer guidance to the District’s regulatory agencies on how to facilitate AV operations in a way that fosters safety, equity, and sustainability as the industry matures and expands in the District. Key recommendations are that:

  • AVs being tested can detect and safely interact with pedestrians of all demographics and capabilities in a complex urban environment;
  • AV testers use the technology to improve access in mobility challenged neighborhoods;
  • the District should encourage the electrification of AVs vehicles in fleets; and
  • regulations should prioritize multimodal connectivity and access in the District.

The Mayor has provided DDOT with the funding necessary to establish an AV testing program.

AV Working Group Members

The Working Group is comprised of representatives from:

  • Office of the City Administrator
  • Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure
  • 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
  • Office of Disability Rights

Members of the public and industry stakeholders also participate.

For more information and access to previous agendas/presentations visit our Gitbook site.