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Louisville leaders developing playbook to prepare for possible self-driving cars

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro's Office of Civic Innovation and Develop Louisville are seeking input from the public for an Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Playbook to help the city proactively prepare for the impact of autonomous vehicles on transportation.

Though Louisville may not see widespread adoption of AVs for several years, officials said it is important that the city initiates a conversation now on transportation values and provides an initial framework by which the city can better understand the advantages and disadvantages of the new technology. 

While projections of how, and how quickly, the technology will be adopted are still being studied, AVs are expected to have a dramatic impact on how people and goods move to, from, and around the United States. In anticipation of that, Louisville Metro is researching and crafting a policy framework that prepares for the technology while ensuring that mobility is enhanced in an equitable manner for all of Louisville's residents.

The draft playbook lists five steps to guide the city's approach:

  1. Ensure that major infrastructure decisions focus on safe movement of people and goods while considering the effects of AVs. 
  2. Forge public-private partnerships to prepare for new regulatory and technological challenges, anticipate emerging technologies and establish best practices. 
  3. Prepare for changes in parking demand. 
  4. Ensure AV technology supports TARC operations to strengthen our transit system. 
  5. Develop and maintain transportation technology and data infrastructure to provide enhanced safety and reliability while encouraging innovation and providing accurate information to people using Louisville's transportation network. 

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To view the autonomous vehicle playbook and submit comments using an online form, click here.

Several manufacturers have made commitments to make self-driving vehicles available for market by 2020. But city leaders think it could be decades before they are common on the streets of Louisville.

"A lot of the infrastructure investments we're looking at are things that make sense even for vehicles where humans are operating them," Grace Simrall, Louisville Metro Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology, said. "Things like intelligent traffic systems and adapter traffic systems that understand how traffic is flowing. Let's say it senses there's an accident and it can redirect traffic to minimize that impact on congestion."

Other changes could include better signage and lane markings, possible self-driving TARC buses, and changes in parking demand.

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