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July 2nd, 2018

Driveohio, Smart Columbus And The Ohio State University Issue RFP To Procure Self-Driving Shuttles

Partners announce public-private partnership that will study and deploy self-driving shuttles in the City of Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 2, 2018 – The Ohio Department of Transportation’s DriveOhio initiative, in partnership with Smart Columbus and The Ohio State University, today announced the issuance of a request for proposals (RFPs) to identify a technology partner that will deploy, operate, and maintain a low-speed self-driving shuttle service around the Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus. 


The RFP, part of the Smart City Challenge grant portfolio, seeks to commission a vendor to operate a low-speed shuttle that will service destinations along the city’s Scioto Mile: the Center of Science and Industry (COSI); the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, opening this year; the Smart Columbus Experience Center, and Bicentennial Park. The first of a three-phased deployment aims to safely test, operate, and evaluate self-driving vehicles and to develop guidelines that will inform future deployments of self-driving technology for cities throughout Ohio and the rest of the country. The demonstration will also provide a first-hand experience and education for residents and visitors with intelligent transportation. 

“As with any emerging technology, ensuring the safety of the shuttles’ riders as well as driver and pedestrians sharing the road will be of the utmost importance,” said Jim Barna, executive director, DriveOhio. “We are committed to ensuring this testing is performed transparently and coordinated with local transportation officials and that data captured through the pilot program is made available for cities around the country and the world to benefit from.”

“Autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to expand transportation options and hel provide equitable and convenient access to educational destinations, jobs and services in a safe and sustainable way,” said Michael Stevens, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Columbus.“As the Smart City Challenge winner, Columbus has been recognized for our openness to innovation and we're proud to be the first in Ohio to deploy this technology. We are committed to the safety of our residents and will work with private and public partners as well as those who will share the road with this shuttle to ensure the vehicle is ready for our roadways. ”

“Our approach to launching the first self-driving vehicles in the state of Ohio is the ‘Columbus Way’ in action,” said Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership. “This partnership of the public, private and academic sectors to test and deploy the transportation systems of the future will solidify Columbus’ position as the country’s epicenter for smart mobility innovation.”


"This is an exciting next step in our collective efforts to transform central Ohio into a national model of innovative, safe and reliable transportation,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “We look forward to building upon the knowledge already developed at our Center for Automotive Research and the Transportation Research Center to advance the future of transportation in Columbus and beyond.”

The educational demonstration of self-driving shuttles along the Scioto Mile will be the first of a three-phrased initiative managed through the public/private partnership. Testing is intended to start in October 2018 and deployment is anticipated in December 2018, with continuation of service into 2019. Additional use cases and applications for the technology are being validated and will be announced in the future. Technology deployments within the three-phase portfolio are valued at $4 million.

All proposals are expected to follow guidance outlined in Governor John Kasich’s recent Executive Order outlining safety regulations for testing self-driving vehicles on Ohio roadways. All shuttles will be required to have an operator on board. Proposals are due August 13, 2018 by 2:00 p.m. For more information, click here.


About DriveOhio
DriveOhio was created by Governor Kasich on January 18, 2018, as a center within the Ohio Department of Transportation that brings together those who are responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing the advanced mobility technologies needed to allow the state’s transportation system to reach its full potential. Current smart mobility initiatives already under construction in Ohio include four smart road projects covering 164 miles of roadway and three smart city projects including Smart Columbus, winner of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s first “Smart City” challenge in 2016. 

About Smart Columbus
The City of Columbus’ Smart Columbus plan won the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) $40 million Smart City Challenge in June 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles and smart sensors – into its transportation network. Columbus was also awarded an additional $10 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to accelerate the transition to an electrified, low-emissions transportation system. Aligned investments totaling more than $500 million have been made by the private, public and academic institutions in the region to support technology and infrastructure investments that upgrade Columbus' transportation network and help make Columbus the model connected city of the future. Smart Columbus is a regional smart city initiative co-led by the City of Columbus and Columbus Partnership that includes partnerships with The Ohio State University, Battelle, American Electric Power and many more.

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