The goal of the pilot is for Fairfax County and Dominion Energy to learn about the various aspects of deploying autonomous vehicles as part of a large public transportation system. Fairfax County aims to be at the forefront of innovation by testing this smart technology for economic and environmental benefits, operational efficiencies, and as a first- and last-mile travel option connecting people from transit centers to employment, activity centers and residential communities.
As part of its strategic plan to grow and diversify the economy, Fairfax County continues to encourage innovation and testing of smart technologies to help expand existing business sectors, spark new business growth, nurture the innovation ecosystem, and strengthen partnerships with technology experts, researchers, educational institutions and policy makers.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation is committed to ensuring Virginia is on the forefront of new mobility innovations, including the deployment of autonomous transit. DRPT is providing demonstration funds to offset the cost of operations and is evaluating how shuttles can provide critical first and last mile connections to transit.
Dominion Energy is committed to being a driver of change and supporting innovative projects that will both improve the environment and meet the needs of customers and the public. Electric vehicles, including autonomous electric shuttles, will play a major role in a lower-emissions transportation future in the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the nation, and these innovative technologies will help Dominion Energy’s customers embrace environmental stewardship.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will consider a formal partnership agreement between Fairfax County and Dominion Energy related to this pilot project on June 25, 2019. As part of the proposed partnership, Dominion Energy would lease or buy the vehicles for this pilot, and Fairfax County would oversee the operations. You can follow this meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meetings live at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/boardofsupervisors/june-25-2019-meeting.
We are working to determine an official start date. The county is currently working on determining the shuttle’s exact route, arranging for thorough safety reviews and seeking necessary permits to operate it.
The shuttle is planned to travel between the Dunn Loring Metrorail Station and Mosaic in Merrifield. However, the exact route and stops haven’t been determined yet. The route will need to be refined based on several factors, including requirements from the shuttle’s manufacturer, safety reviews and traffic conditions.
Yes! We’re able to offer free service due to a state grant and partnership with Dominion Energy which is providing the shuttle.
No — just get on and go!
Fairfax County is responsible for overseeing the shuttle operations, but the shuttle manufacturer or third-party company may operate the shuttle. The shuttle’s operator will be determined as part of the process of picking the company that will provide the driverless shuttle.
As a project partner, Dominion Energy will identify, and select a shuttle manufacturer. More information about the shuttle will be provided in the future.
Safety is a top priority for this test. The shuttle also will undergo extensive testing before entering passenger service. The county will get a full transportation safety audit by the state, and if needed will seek a safety review and approval from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Finally, in the event of an emergency a safety steward will always be on board the shuttle, and this person will be able to shift to a manual operation if necessary.
The shuttle will serve as a “first- and last-mile” connection between Metrorail and an award-winning mixed-use development, providing a convenient, environmentally friendly transit option for shoppers, visitors, and businesses. Since the shuttle is both autonomous and electric, it also helps commuters reduce their environmental impact and play a role in a lower-emissions transportation future.
We are looking to learn more about how this technology can be safely and effectively used in the future to offer additional mobility solutions, to help familiarize people with new transportation technologies, and to encourage environmentally friendly transportation solutions.
This pilot is a public-private partnership, and local, state and private money will pay for this demonstration project. Fairfax County received a $250,000 state grant that includes a $50,000 in county matching funds. Dominion Energy is providing the shuttle and related charging infrastructure.
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035