San Jose Looks for Ways to Integrate Self-Driving Cars into Its Transportation Network

San Jose is trying to figure out how to integrate self-driving cars into its transportation network. As part of a just-launched initiative, the city is asking the private sector for ideas about how to leverage autonomous vehicles as a solution to transportation problems.

“Autonomous vehicles have enormous potential to help cities improve traffic safety, relieve congestion, and improve transportation mobility for seniors, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said Thursday.

The initiative is part of the mayor’s “Smart City Vision,” a blueprint for incorporating technology into the city’s future. Liccardo said he wants to take “deep, data-driven look” at how self-driving cars can improve the public’s quality of life.

People who live and work in San Jose deal with increasing commute times and dozens of traffic fatalities a year. With the population projected to grow another 40 percent in the coming two decades, those problems are expected to worsen. The city hopes that autonomous cars could address some of those challenges.

City officials have held several roundtable discussions about the idea with representatives from the car industry. Now, the mayor is putting out a call for autonomous vehicle pilot project ideas. Pitches that align with the following objectives will have the best shot at winning the city’s approval:

  • 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 our transportation system and protect privacy for our residents

“Autonomous vehicles are rapidly moving towards widespread testing and implementation,” San Jose’s Assistant Director of Transportation Kevin O’Connor said. “Ultimately, they could have a tremendous impact on the safety, mobility, sustainability, and livability of our city.”

While the city will entertain a wide range of self-driving vehicle concepts, the request for proposals specifically calls for pilot projects that do the following:

  • 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

The city will accept submissions through late July and potentially roll out at least one pilot project by this fall. To review the city’s request for information, click here. For more information about San Jose’s Smart City Vision, click here.

9 Comments

  1. > San Jose is trying to figure out how to integrate self-driving cars into its transportation network. As part of a just-launched initiative, the city is asking the private sector for ideas about how to leverage autonomous vehicles as a solution to transportation problems.

    WHAT!?

    This is so common sensical that it is hard to believe that ANY progressive local politician or news media is involved or even knows about it.

    Self-driving vehicles ARE the future and Silicon Valley is well positioned to play a big role in shaping the “transport of the future”.

    Self-driving vehicles are going to gore a lot of progressive oxen like BART, VTA, California HIgh Speed Rail and the usual public employee “gravy trains” (pun intended). Self-driving vehicles might even make the stupid bike lanes look even more stupid than they already are.

    Hopeless and backward as they are, though, progressive politicians never miss an opportunity to pander in any way they can to their customary “victim classes”:

    > “…and improve transportation mobility for seniors, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said Thursday.

    Oh, right. We can’t forget the “disadvantaged groups”. I assume this means that if there were NO opportunity to pander to “disadvantaged groups”, San Jose politicians would have no interest in “self-driving vehicles.”

  2. Once, after taking his seat between Johnny Carson and Tonight Show guests Bob Hope and Dean Martin — three show business giants, little George Gobel brought down the house by asking, “Did you ever get the feeling the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”

    Not to be outdone, Mayor Liccardo is doing his best to bring this city down by pushing policies so contradictory as to be criminally-incompetant. Wanting very much to be viewed as intelligent and innovative — aligning himself with the tech industry and embracing its labor-saving technologies, while simultaneously filling this city (and its already overburdened roads and highways) to its bursting point with illegal immigrants who have to offer the job market nothing other than the same meager skills targeted by high-tech.

    Outside of those with criminal records, the biggest threat facing illegal aliens is not ICE or The Donald, it’s the rapid pace with which unskilled jobs are being replaced with gringo machines — a pace accelerated by livable-wage progressives like the mayor, who, had he taken a “deep, data-driven look” at the economic implications of their pandering policies, might’ve realized that, at $120 a shift taking orders, Guadalupe and her fake social security number would soon be stepping aside for a Chinese made, English-enabled touch screen.

    If Mayor Liccardo’s toys eject chauffeurs and truck drivers from their vehicles they are going to take their citizenship and hit the job market, where one of them just might look to be a safer hire than Guadalupe’s husband, leaving Mr. and Mrs. Sanctuary as screwed as they ever were in Mexico.

    • If Carnac the Magnificent was still alive:

      Carnac: “Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, and Sam Liccardo”

      Ed: “Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, and Sam Liccardo”

      Carnac: (Glares at Ed. Opens envelope) “Name two hockey players and a hockey puck.”

  3. I’ll bet the self-driving car operators would, at a start, prefer streets that are not rutted and full of potholes. Hard to do that with a billion dollar paving and maintenance backlog.

    Idea: Let’s start with autonomous paving machines first!

    • > Let’s start with autonomous paving machines first!

      Dear Mr. Midtown:

      I like the way you think. You’re definitely part of the solution and not part of the problem.

  4. How Anti-Progresive an Idea is a self driving car in a place that wants to get people to use public transportation everywhere it goes? Our streets are lined with homeless people that need a job. We have spent billions of taxpayer
    dollars on an antiquated trolley system that creates more traffic than it could ever hope to solve.

    If you want to automate something Mr Mayor, try fixing the stupid traffic light system that seems to stop thirty cars at every light for one or two cars exiting a side street. If you want to cut cost of the city government try automating that stupid trolley car system with driverless trains just think of all the money you will save in pensions alone.
    Perhaps you could have driverless police cars that just spot stolen cars and wright parking tickets freeing up real cops to round up real law breakers. Then again maybe it’s time for Robocop to appear in silicon Valley.
    Then again maybe we could automate local government, and program it to do it’s job within a budget!

  5. How do self driving cars reduce traffic congestion? A car on the road is a car on the road, whether it is self driving or not.

    • > How do self driving cars reduce traffic congestion?

      A self-driving car can drive bumper to bumper at seventy miles per hour AND check Twitter and Facebook at the same time.

      Since they get to their destinations faster and more reliably, they spend less time occupying pavement, and require fewer supporting emergency vehicles.

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