L.A. City Councilman David Ryu envisions a city with no human-operated vehicles within 20 years.
He filed a motion Wednesday requesting that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation examine the effects of having an “autonomous transit city” and suggest steps needed to ensure the city is driverless by 2035.
“An autonomous transit city has the potential to revolutionize transportation for the better by bringing transportation equity, greatly reducing traffic, and achieving the Vision Zero goal of zero road deaths in the city,” Ryu said in a press release.
The proposal comes days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a policy addressing self-driving cars for the first time. The policy aims to provide manufacturers with guidelines on how to develop and safely test the new technology while allowing them to remain innovative.
As Los Angeles undergoes transportation changes, Ryu said that he hopes the city will be able to adapt to this technology.
That could have a significant impact on a region with some of the most congested roads in the country. The 405 freeway through the metro area has been rated as the busiest stretch of highway in the United States by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Los Angeles County had 7.8 million registered vehicles in 2015, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It also had 29,032 vehicle-related injuries or deaths in 2013, the second-highest among the state’s 14 cities with populations over 250,000, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
To help jumpstart the initiative, Ryu is also asking companies to bring their self-driving services to Los Angeles.
“With Uber launching its first autonomous fleet last week in Pittsburgh, Google test driving cars in Palo Alto, and Tesla adding semi-autonomous functionality to its current road vehicles, we need these companies to focus on the largest market and the one that will benefit most: Los Angeles,” Ryu said.
The L.A. Department of Transportation, along with the Department of City Planning and the Bureau of Street Services, will have 45 days to report back to the City Council on the benefits of a driverless city.
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