State commission to spotlight future direction for transportation at meeting next week

Planning for future transportation needs is the focus of the Washington State Transportation Commission’s December meeting, Dec. 15-16. Topics to be covered include updates on tolling performance, briefings from the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group subcommittees, and a continuation of the commission’s year-long series on “The Future of Transportation Post COVID-19.”

The commission meeting begins at 9 a.m. both Tuesday, Dec. 15, and Wednesday, Dec. 16. Due to limitations on the size of gatherings in response to COVID-19, this meeting will be conducted virtually using GoToWebinar. People interested in attending can register on the commission’s website. The meeting will be broadcast live on TVW at www.tvw.org.

On Tuesday, an update on the Interstate 405/State Route 167 express toll lanes Low-Income Tolling Study will be given. The study is assessing the effects of tolling on low-income drivers of the I-405/SR 167 express toll lanes and will identify possible approaches to mitigate impacts. The project team will present proposed criteria for selection of possible low-income-toll-program options for further assessment and will provide an overview of results of a recent survey conducted of low-income drivers who use either corridor.

The commission will hear the results of a recent special Ferry Rider Opinion Group survey to gather data on the effect COVID-19 has had on ferry riders related to changes in their travel today and into the future. The opinion group is made up of over 23,000 ferry riders and is utilized each year to gather input on ferry operations, fares, customer satisfaction, and other key topics. All opinion group survey results are shared with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature for their consideration in setting policies and making investment decisions for Washington State Ferries.

Tuesday afternoon, the Autonomous Vehicle Work Group executive committee and subcommittees will report out on their work during 2020 and present their recommendations. The AV work group is charged with identifying policy and regulatory needs to accommodate the operation of AVs on Washington’s public roadways. The commission is required in law to consider the input of the work group and offer recommendations to the Governor and Legislature each year.

In addition, staff from the Washington State Department of Transportation will provide an update on the traffic and revenue performance of the state’s tolled facilities for July through September 2020. They will also highlight the effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on traffic volumes and revenues for each tolled facility.

On Wednesday, the focus will be on the commission’s year-long series: “The Future of Transportation Post-COVID-19.” A panel of experts and industry leaders will speak to several topics, including:

  • Emerging changes transportation planners are seeing and the effects on transportation systems long term.
  • Experiences and observations of shared-ride services during the pandemic.
  • Technology advancements made by Waymo during COVID-19.

Written public comment will be accepted via email until 4 p.m. the day before the meeting. Comments should be sent to transc@wstc.wa.gov. Written comments received after this deadline will be provided to commissioners after the meeting. Questions can also be asked during the meeting by using the “question” box found on-screen during the meeting, and as time allows, will be addressed during the meeting.

All presentations will be available on the commission’s website. For more information about the commission and a complete meeting agenda, visit www.wstc.wa.gov.

 

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