Cooperative automated transportation

Explore cooperative automated transportation (CAT), including autonomous and connected vehicles, and learn how it could improve safety and enhance livability for all residents.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) envisions a future where automated, connected, electrified, and shared mobility contributes toward a safe and efficient transportation system that emphasizes public transit and active transportation and promotes livable (walkable/bikeable), economically vibrant communities with affordable housing and convenient access to jobs and other activity centers.

A cooperative, automated and connected world

Cooperative automated transportation (CAT) is more than just vehicles, it includes:

  • Modes: Automobile, truck, plane, van, bus, rail, ferry, bicycle, scooter, pedestrian, etc.
  • Systems: Vehicles, infrastructure, information, communications, etc.
  • Applications: Traffic management, fare collection, mobility services, trip planning, etc.

Connected and autonomous vehicles include all classes of vehicles as well as varying levels of automation and connection.

Automated transportation program

Our cooperative automated transportation program focuses on how all methods of transportation work together and share information among interdependent vehicles, pedestrians and coordinated transportation systems.

Work includes:

  • Developing a CAT Policy Framework (PDF 486KB) considering both community and regional transportation system needs to shape investment priorities.
  • Advancing Mobility on Demand through collaboration and data standardization.
  • Creating opportunities for WSDOT partnerships – regionally and nationally – with industry, local and other partners.
  • Pursuing sustainable funding to support the agency’s CAT efforts.
  • Strategically deciding how best to use existing resources, including technology.

Supporting state and national efforts

Our CAT program supports a number of state and national CAT efforts, including:

  • Continued work supporting Gov. Jay Inslee’s June 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Technology executive order, which promotes safe testing and operation of autonomous vehicles, including ongoing pilot programs, to help Washington remain a technology innovator.
  • Co-chairing (Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar) the Infrastructure and Systems Subcommittee as part of the Washington State Transportation Commission’s Autonomous Vehicle Work Group. (Created by the state Legislature, SB 2970, to develop autonomous vehicle policy and recommendations for public roads.)
  • Providing leadership roles in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) CAT Coalition and related committees and working groups.
  • Collaborating with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America advancing CAT-related efforts.

Current activities

Connecting people to transit

Continuing to explore partnerships to deploy automated shuttles and other first/last mile connections to transit and rideshare companies.

Data partnerships

  • Working with partners to examine data standards and specifications to support responsible public and private Mobility on Demand service deployments.
  • Supporting partnerships to enhance Washington’s digital infrastructure.
  • Advancing the adoption of General Transit Feed Specification-Flex, often called GTFS-Flex, data standards to support access to transit schedule information and more flexible transit services.

Work zone safety

  • Exploring using driverless automated staging vehicles in work zones, reducing the danger to crews.
  • Providing real-time work zone location information to improve traveler and worker safety.

Traffic signals

Installing signal equipment to improve intersection safety and mobility by improving WSDOT system communication with vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Broadband accommodation

Partnering with the telecom industry to identify ways to leverage the public right of way for future fiber and wireless usages.

Automated enforcement

Working with partners to explore automated enforcement opportunities, such as using license plate reader cameras for specific highway segments, providing law enforcement with a margin of safety from moving traffic, and with less effect on traffic flow.

Pavement markings

Identifying modifications that can benefit travelers now, while also preparing the system for automated vehicle needs.

Commercial vehicles

  • Identifying data sharing and infrastructure improvements that improve freight safety, mobility and system operations.
  • Exploring truck parking and interstate truck platooning pilot projects.

The 5.9 Ghz wireless safety spectrum

Identifying barriers and strategies to increase field deployments to preserve spectrum space for public safety uses.

166,800 electric vehicle

registrations in Washington in 2023, up from 114,600 in 2022.

87 wetland compensation sites

actively monitored on 918 acres in 2023.

25,000 safe animal crossings

in the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area since 2014.