Facebook Pixel

Profile: Washington State Department of Transportation #2

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

We are better together. No one jurisdiction, state, academic institution, private company or country has sufficient capability and capacity to successfully scale the deployment of AVs into full commercial operation alone. Transparency and open source collaboration is paramount until AV technology developments are more mature.

PAVE: How is your state preparing for AVs? What steps have already been taken?

In 2018, the Washington State Legislature took steps to prepare our state for the operation of AVs on public roadways in the state by directing the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) to establish and convene a Work Group which consists of diverse stakeholders representing the public and private sectors related to AVs. Through 2023, a diverse Work Group Executive Committee and seven Subcommittees will develop recommendations to prepare for this advancing technology. These recommendations include possible policies, laws and rules to support the safe operation of AVs on public roadways in the state.


Read more about the Washington State Autonomous Vehicle Work Group here: https://avworkgroupwa.org/


WSDOT’s Cooperative Automated Transportation program focuses on how all modes of transportation work together and share information between interdependent vehicles, pedestrians and coordinated transportation systems. Work includes:

  • Developing a CAT policy framework considering both community and regional transportation system needs to shape investment priorities.
  • Creating opportunities for WSDOT partnerships — regionally and nationally — with industry, local and other partners..
  • Pursuing sustainable funding to support the agency’s CAT efforts.
  • Strategically deciding how best to use existing resources, including technology.

WSDOT’s draft CAT Policy Framework is a working document that will be used in a variety of ways to guide decision making, policy development and CAT investment priorities: CAT Policy Framework (pdf 361 kb)

Read more about the Cooperative Automated Transportation Program here: https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/travel/automated-connected/home

PAVE: What AV tests/deployments have taken place in your area?

As of Sept 1, 2019 Waymo and Torc Robotics are the only companies to have conducted any on public road testing in WA State.

  • Torc Robotics conducted a cross-country AV trip and planned to pass through Washington back in 2017.
  • Waymo completed some limited testing in Kirkland WA back in 2017, but are not currently testing in Washington State.
  • PACCAR/Peloton are still interested in conducting some SAE Level 1 Driver Assistive Truck Platooning in 2019/2020, but no firm testing dates have been established.
  • Peloton: Near-Term they are not planning to roll out their recently released “AutoFollow” technology in WA State.

On December 19, 2018, 7 Washington State Police Officers participated in a demo ride with PACCAR/Peloton. The 20–30 minute demo ride took place on I-5 near the PACCAR Technical Center, heading north of Burlington to the Whatcom/Skagit County border and back.

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.