City of Portland launches autonomous vehicles initiative

The Mayor of Portland has tasked the city’s transport authority with developing autonomous vehicle policies as part of a newly announced initiative – the Smart Autonomous Vehicles Initiative (SAVI) – in the city.

The initiative will see the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) soliciting proposals from companies interested in testing autonomous vehicles on Portland’s streets by the end of the year.

“Portland’s long history of transportation innovation is about to enter a new chapter,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “My goal is to have an autonomous vehicle pilot program in Portland, working for Portlanders, by the end of the year.

“To the inventors, investors and innovators, I’m here to say that Portland is open for business.”

“Autonomous vehicles can make our streets safer by taking human error out of the equation,” said City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT.

“As we work towards our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic fatalities and serious injuries, the public has a right to expect that the city will help make sure that safety standards are met. Autonomous vehicles should help us meet our safety, equity, climate change and economic goals.”

PBOT director Leah Treat said: “Realizing the potential of autonomous vehicles starts with making smart choices and setting clear standards that support the interests of the autonomous vehicle industry and our community. 

“We will look to the first autonomous vehicle pilots for valuable information about the performance of AVs and how we can harness this technology to increase affordable transportation, reduce congestion and fight pollution.”