Bellevue, US is preparing
Seattle is one of just a handful of American cities where transit continues to gain market share, and the city’s suburbs–including the city of Bellevue, home to Amazon and other tech companies–is looking to join the trend but with a high-tech twist. The city government and the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce are working to develop a large employer-sponsored network of driverless shuttles serving local corporate campuses.
The first phase of this ambitious project is expected to begin in fall 2019 with a short test route of 1 to 2 miles in and around downtown Bellevue. More than $3 million in federal funding has been requested to help fund this $9 million effort.
The project’s bold, long-term vision calls for hundreds of driverless shuttles–similar to King County Metro’s existing vanpool program, the country’s largest–but with on-demand flexibility rather than pre-scheduled rides. The system would achieve critical mass by focus on a corridor where along I-405 where multiple companies large employ thousands of workers each. It’s hoped that such a system can be up and running before 2024, when bus rapid transit (BRT) rolls out along I-405, which cuts through Bellevue, to provide first and last mile connections.