Can autonomous vehicles replace rail for airport access?

Posted on in News

USA: Instead of building a rail link to the airport San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is considering installing a dedicated lane for autonomous vehicles only.

“I agree that light rail should have gone to the airport when that line was built 26 years ago. Now we face a different, and much more expensive, challenge: retrofitting a line that would cost $800 million or more, at a time when we’ve got many other transit projects (BART, Caltrain electrification, Diridon Station, bus rapid transit, and Eastridge light rail). That’s why I’m working with our Department of Transportation (DoT) team to explore some less costly alternatives, including an autonomous-only lane between Diridon and the airport,” the Mayor said answering a letter sent to him from one of the San Jose citizens.

Liccardo said he is particularly interested in the route along Coleman from the airport to Diridon.

“It makes sense for air travelers looking for a quick, inexpensive way to get to various transit options, and it would help support San Jose as Silicon Valley’s urban center,” the Mayor added.

Jim Ortbal, Director of the DoT said that the department is preparing for a Request for Information that is targeted for release in June, asking companies in the autonomous vehicles industry to give their ideas for testing and eventually implementing the system in San Jose.

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