There are currently serious concerns about the safety of self-driving cars, with specific concerns about the ability of these cars to reliably avoid hitting pedestrians and cyclists. But at the technology advances, city staff are still including plans for self-driving cars on Alexandria streets as a future possibility worth planning for.
The recognition of autonomous vehicles was noted as one of the changes highlighted at a Sept. 29 joint Transportation Commission and Alexandria Mobility Plan Advisory Committee meeting. Staff said that the city needs to be prepared for that future from a policy perspective.
The city is in the middle of a broad update to the original plan from 2008. The new Alexandria Mobility Plan includes several actions to help prepare for autonomous vehicles.
- Consider pilot projects to lay the groundwork for and evaluate the effectiveness
of various new technologies
- Prepare for connected vehicles by developing maintenance and infrastructure
plans to ensure street readiness
- Prepare for autonomous or self-driving vehicles by developing policies to manage
potentially significant increases in miles driven and traffic volumes within the city,
including limiting zero-passenger miles and incentivizing shared use
- Ensure that safety is a priority when testing and implementing new technologies
Despite the current safety concerns, the Alexandria Mobility Plan said there’s potential for autonomous vehicles to be a roadway safety improvement, as well as an accessibility benefit:
Autonomous and connected vehicles have the potential to improve roadway safety, enhance mobility for persons with disabilities, and potentially reduce congestion. Vehicle technology is advancing quickly, and the City needs to be well-positioned to adapt to these changes. It is important to prepare for connected vehicle technology through strategic investments that accommodate vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, which will help travelers find parking spaces, avoid traffic and crashes, navigate hazardous conditions, and more. Proactive policy making and monitoring will be needed to address potential for increased travel and congestion associated with the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
The plan’s 20-year goals include accomodating self-driving vehicles, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and vehicle-to-vehicle communications.
In neighboring Fairfax, a self-driving shuttle started operation last year, though some drivers have been irked by the vehicle. Autonomous vehicles have also been used at Fort Meyer in Arlington. In 2017 a “driverless car” was spotted in Arlington, though it later turned out to be a car driven by a person disguised as a car seat.
Photo via Alan/Flickr
Buildings resembling New York City’s iconic Flatiron building are being proposed for the former home of the GenOn Power Plant in Old Town North. Hilco Redevelopment Partners just released new…
With book bans on the rise, the Alexandria Library is partnering with Elaine’s Restaurant (208 Queen Street) in Old Town to host a free reading from books on banned lists…
The Alexandria Police Department just announced three major new hires. APD announced Monday that it will welcome new Assistant Police Chiefs Raul Pedroso and Tina Laguna, as well as Communications…
It’s no surprise that, for the sixth straight year, Alexandria’s in the top five best small cities list in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards: but this year, Alexandria beat…
If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA