The transportation technology of tomorrow could be coming to Rhode Island, as the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) from companies with expertise in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and other technologies. The intent of the RFI is to start a process that puts the Ocean State in a position to be a leader in developing the transportation system of the future.
“Rhode Island has always embraced emerging technology. The industrial revolution started here and we’re the first state in the nation with an off-shore windfarm,” said Governor Gina Raimondo. “By embracing innovation in transportation, we are positioning Rhode Island to be a leader and we will create jobs. By launching this process, we will be prepared to make best use of new and emerging technologies.”
“Cars as we know them are changing already, but we’re on the cusp of changes in the way we travel that will truly be groundbreaking,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said. “In keeping with the philosophy of RhodeWorks, the inclusion of CAV into our future projects will help promote future job creation in an evolving technology and further economic development that modern infrastructure will bring to the state.”
The RFI will start the process for RIDOT to identify and meet the substantial technical, regulatory and practical challenges associated with the implementation of CAV technologies. Companies submitting proposals also will be asked to share other innovative next-generation ideas such as on-demand ride sharing, high speed intercity and inter-suburb transporter technology, among others.
In the RFI, RIDOT is seeking information about:
- Opportunities for partnerships
- Impact on the state’s capital planning and execution process
- Regional safety programs (including law enforcement and security)
- Environmental conditions
- State laws and regulation
- Workforce and professional training needs within the state
Respondents are encouraged to submit proposals for a proof of concept pilot CAV or on-demand ride sharing service deployment in Rhode Island that would support and/or resolve issues included in the six topic areas. Submissions are due back to RIDOT in mid-July. The RFI can be viewed at: www.ridot.net/CAV.The RFI process is the first step for RIDOT to build long-term relationships with partners and stakeholders in the CAV community. Once the submissions have been received and evaluated, RIDOT will invite responders to participate in an Expo where all parties can learn more about each other and start to move the planning process forward to prepare for revolutionary changes in transportation.
“This is a time of rapid innovation in the automotive sector, as products adapt to develop and incorporate new technology, and meet changing consumer demand,” RIDOT’s Chief Operating Officer Shoshana Lew said. “There is an opportunity to help integrate that conversation with infrastructure planning and execution. Rhode Island can be a place where we help bring those threads together.”