Waymo Vehicle
Photo Credit: Waymo

The Bellevue City Council recently reviewed the Transportation Department’s new Automated Vehicle Strategic Vision. Bellevue and Seattle are working together to build a framework that applies a unified approach to prepare for the arrival of automated vehicles throughout the region.

The document that was reviewed discusses a shared future vision and guidance on the preparation, planning and implementation of AV technologies.

The AV Strategic Vision is a key initiative that builds on the city’s 2018 Bellevue Smart Mobility Plan and supports the council’s vision and priorities for a state-of-the-art intelligent transportation system that moves people safely from place to place. The Bellevue Smart Mobility Plan was put into place to manage the growth and demand of the city’s transportation system through the use of technology, which otherwise results in traffic and parking concerns.

The 2018 plan identified potential AV initiatives that Bellevue could support and pursue.

According to a press release by the City of Bellevue, in June 2022, the council received a mid-project update on the AV Strategic Vision, including how the technology is evolving throughout the nation. The completed Vision presents a localized approach with near-, mid—, and long-term actions that the City of Bellevue and the surrounding region should take to maximize its readiness for the arrival of AV technologies.

City of Bellevue staff plan to work with State and Federal counterparts in ensuring a safe, equitable, efficient, and complementary rollout of AV technologies in the city.

The intention of automated vehicles is to safe lives and reduce the number of crashes on roadways, offer independence for people with disabilities, seniors, and non-drivers, improve traffic flow, increase personal productivity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save fuel costs.

The risks associated with this include testing limitations, unintended consequences stemming from widespread AV adoption like TVs circling the streets waiting for new passengers, difficulty monetizing high-priority use cases, and dissenting approaches on regulatory frameworks to ensure safe AV operations.

Now that Bellevue and Seattle are quipped with a better understanding of potential benefits and risks of AV technology, the cities are developing a joint AV plan of action that can be taken to achieve the future that they envision for this area. This roadmap helps to ensure that programming, resources, and investments are maximizing the readiness at varying levels of AV deployment.

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