Portland's Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative Seeking Industry & Community Input

June 26, 2017

By: Jeanette Shaw


Following Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Saltzman's launch of the Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI) earlier this year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) was tasked with creating four specific deliverables, detailed below. Forth is actively engaged and looks forward to assisting the City and PBOT as they develop this exciting and important initiative. We encourage our industry members to engage as well and highlight opportunities to do so, either in partnership with Forth or individually, below. 

(1) RFI (Request for Information) for Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative

The purpose of the RFI is to gather data to assist the City in understanding a myriad of issues related to autonomous vehicles (AVs) - from availability and diversity of suppliers; to approaches and solutions to AV testing; to piloting and deployment. Submissions are due by August 11, 2017. Once the RFI is closed, PBOT will hold a voluntary "AV open house" where entities can present their capabilities and potentially partner with complementary providers.

The RFI seeks information regarding pilot programs (shared mobility vehicles, AV systems technology, and sensor technology); electric vehicle charging infrastructure supporting AV testing or deployment and smart grid and/or renewable power supply integration; AV maintenance and system operations; connected mobility and interoperability to work with Portland’s existing application efforts; and deployment of AVs that further one or more of Portland’s safety, equity, climate or traffic congestion goals via innovative business models.

PBOT is specifically interested in Right-of-Way Management – pick-up and drop off zones; first and last-mile solutions that connect users to transit lines, schools, jobs or services and freight delivery; university, hospital, or campus autonomous electric shuttle; vehicle-to-infrastructure technology (communications between high occupancy vehicles, freight vehicles or sensors in the right of way; data related to transportation safety, planning such as, vehicle volumes, vehicle occupancy, routes, speeds, etc.; incentive approaches that increase vehicle occupancy, (i.e., smart phone app) shared vehicle use and decreases overall carbon emissions or reduces congestion; electric mobile delivery services to underserved communities and/or multi-occupant; what would the city of Portland need to do to ensure the pilot programs success; and whether a partnership with the city of Portland is contemplated.

Forth and many of its members are well-suited to provide answers to the RFI regarding safety, equity, congestion management and reduction, climate pollution reduction and the generation of economic benefits. Forth is interested in partnering with members on submitting information and/or acting as an RFI aggregator. If your organization is interested in partnering with Forth, please get in touch with Jeanette Shaw, Forth's Director of Government Relations, as soon as possible and no later than July 24.

(2) Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Policy  

At the direction of the City of Portland, PBOT developed a draft discussion document regarding AV policy to be included in its 2035 Transportation System Plan (TSP) currently being revised. Section 8 addresses connected and autonomous vehicles, and the potential benefits and negatives for AVs. Forth is currently reviewing the draft and will provide comments. These are due Friday, July 21, 2017. 

Forth members are invited to provide comments for potential inclusion within our submission. If your organization is interested in doing so, please contact Jeanette Shaw, Forth's Director of Government Relations, as soon as possible and submit comments to us no later than July 10. 

(3) Interim Administrative Rule Draft

On June 16, 2017, PBOT released a Draft Interim Administrative Rule for SAVI. This document, once finalized, will regulate autonomous vehicles in the city of Portland, guide the operation of an AV on City infrastructure, and when a permit is required, among other activities. The draft document raises many questions that industry members, city representatives and the community will need to discuss and evaluate. For example, regarding permits, is obtaining “automobile liability insurance in amounts acceptable to the City Attorney that names the City and its officers, employees, and agents as additional insured entities” problematic?  Regarding data requirements, is it problematic for AV permit holders to “give the City ownership of all data generated by the AV as required by permit”? Forth is gathering input from its members regarding the draft rule and will be submitting comments soon. 

(4) Autonomous Vehicle Public Outreach Strategy

Following RFI submissions, an Open House will be held to discuss the submissions with entities proposing to pilot AVs and with the public. Workshops will be held with selected organizations, community representatives and neighborhoods to introduce potential pilot projects to city residents. Additionally, an AV Advisory & Oversight Committee will be developed to oversee implemented pilots. Given Forth’s community outreach on transportation issues and access, Forth looks forward to working with the City and PBOT on developing the AV Advisory & Oversight Committee.

For all AV related activities, please contact Jeanette Shaw, Forth's Director of Government Relations via email or by calling 503-724-8670.

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Portland's Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative Seeking Industry & Community Input
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Following Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Saltzman's launch of the Smart Autonomous Vehicle Initiative (SAVI) earlier this year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) was tasked with creating fo...