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Profile: District Department of Transportation

PAVE: How are DDOT and DFHV preparing for AVs? What steps have already been taken? 

DDOT is preparing for AVs in two big ways. First, we are part of an interagency working group that has been looking at this topic since 2018. The working group developed an AV Principles Statement that seeks to put our residents and visitors first, emphasizing that AVs are merely a means to achieve our broad goals. Secondly, DDOT is the regulatory authority for AV testing in the District. We have been working to prepare the rules around testing so we can launch a permitting program in the near future for operators that wish to test.

DFHV is taking a multifaceted approach to navigating the AV landscape. DFHV is part of an interagency working group that has been examining this topic since 2018. The working group developed an AV Principles Statement that aims to prioritize the District’s residents and visitors, emphasizing that AVs are simply a means to achieve our broad goals. Additionally, DFHV serves as the regulatory authority for for-hire passenger services in the District. We have been collaborating with our sister agency, DDOT, to formulate rules for AV testing in general and passenger testing specifically, enabling the District to launch a permitting program soon for operators interested in testing.

PAVE: What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your work with AVs?

DFHV’s goal is to protect consumers by regulating for-hire services, enabling passengers to have safe, affordable, and accessible transportation options. The degree of technological sophistication dedicated to safety in Autonomous Vehicles is truly impressive. Furthermore, there appears to be a growing interest within the industry to offer for-hire services. Similarly, the public sector’s curiosity about the commercial use of AVs is also increasing.

PAVE: What AV deployments/tests have taken place in the District of Columbia?

There is no active testing in the District at this time. However, from 2018 to 2022, Uber, Argo, and Ford were involved in mapping and testing, and from 2020 to 2021, Optimus Ride conducted testing in one neighborhood.


Read more about the DDOT’s work with AVs on their website or follow them on social media. DFHV’s website can be found here.


About the Public Sector Advisory Council: PAVE’s public sector partners help to guide PAVE on its mission of promoting fact-based public discussion about automated vehicles. Council members serve in a strictly advisory capacity, providing PAVE and its members with opinions and recommendations related to AV technology and its societal effects.