Transportation commissioners told to be ready for driverless cars

Oklahoma Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson knows driverless cars are coming.  When?  That’s another matter.

But he told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission this week they are in the near future and the state’s Driving Oklahoma Working Group is a partnership exploring policies and safety of those vehicles.

“As we look to the future on what to expect and what we need to change, we want to be ready for whatever is coming in the autonomous vehicle arena—that would be state statutes, municipal ordinances and the like,” said Patterson at the commission meeting.

He explained the Working Group involves industries and companies in transportation, AAA, cities, counties, state agencies, the trucking association, universities and municipal planning agencies.

The commission was briefed on how nearly $3.9 million has been handed out to rural Oklahoma transit agencies to purchase new or replacement vans, minivans and buses.

Patterson also briefed commissioners on the $4.28 million in federal grants ODOT received recently for upgrades to public transportation fleets and facilities operated by 13 rural Oklahoma transit agencies that serve 66 counties.

The Commission voted to award a $780,000 project to construct nearly two miles of sidewalks at various location in Yukon, including along Route 66; a $1.86 million project to reconstruct the US-270 bridge over US-270B in north Shawnee and a nearly $14 million highway reconstruction and bridge replacement on US-64 near Cleveland in Pawnee County.

Commissioners voted to award 25 contracts totaling more than $78 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 22 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Blaine, Bryan, Canadian, Craig, Creek, Custer, Greer, Johnston, LeFlore, Love, McIntosh, Murray, Muskogee, Nowata, Oklahoma, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Seminole and Tulsa counties. 

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