The Oregon Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Task Force reconvened this week, kicking off phase two of its work. For the last 6 months, the Task Force has been focused on developing recommendations for an AV testing policy framework. These recommendations can be found in the 2018 Final Report, and we can expect this report to inform legislation in 2019. A draft bill was shared with AV Task Force members at this week’s meeting, but has not yet been shared with the public. Representative Susan McLain asked for the Task Force to review the draft and will be introducing the AV bill in time for the 2019 Session.
Going forward, the Task Force will be shifting its focus to deployment. This week, the group had difficulty in reaching agreement on establishing a deadline for making these new recommendations. It’s expected that the Task Force will continue to meet during the 2019 Legislative Session, and several Task Force members noted that it will be challenging to move on to discussions for deployment, when a testing policy has not yet been passed by the Legislature. The earliest deadline for deployment recommendations by the Task Force may be in August 2019, and the latest date discussed was September 2020.
Consensus was reached this week on which subcommittees the Task Force will be splitting into as they address deployment of autonomous vehicles:
- Amendments to Vehicle Code & Public Safety
- Land Use
- Road & Infrastructure Design
- Public Transit
- Workforce Changes
- State Responsibilities Related to Cybersecurity & Privacy
We should expect to see bicycle and pedestrian safety issues coming up in several of these subcommittees. Another important discussion item during this week’s meeting: should the Task Force add an additional member? Several Task Force members noted that an advocate for active transportation specifically, has been missing from the discussion. Rep. McLain agreed – noting that as a chief sponsor of the original AV bill that established this Task Force, she would be open to revisiting this issue. Adding an additional member would require legislation. The Safe Routes Partnership echoed this need during the public comment period, requesting the Task Force seriously consider adding a new member and prioritize bicycle and pedestrian safety issues during this next phase of their work.