Cooperative Automated Transportation

Cooperative Automated Transportation, including autonomous and connected vehicles, has the potential to improve safety and enhance livability for all our residents.

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.

Cooperative Automated Transportation 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.

Vehicle Automation Levels

What is WSDOT doing to prepare and plan for Cooperative Automated Transportation?

WSDOT’s Cooperative Automated Transportation program focuses on how all modes of transportation work together and share information between interdependent vehicles, pedestrians and coordinated transportation systems.. Work includes:

  • Developing a CAT policy framework considering both community and regional transportation system needs to shape investment priorities.
  • 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.

WSDOT’s draft CAT Policy Framework is a working document that will be used in a variety of ways to guide decision making, policy development and CAT investment priorities.

CAT Policy Framework (pdf 361 kb)

To receive this document in an alternate format, contact Ted Bailey,, 360-705-7286.

Current activities

  • First/last mile connections
    • Assisting WSDOT’s Mobility on Demand efforts and the first/last mile grant program.
    • Providing matching funds and support for a Pierce County autonomous, low-speed shuttle grant application.
  • Data sharing
    • Providing real-time work zone location information to improve traveler and worker safety.
    • Sharing real-time road and weather data from WSDOT snow plow operations and other systems to improve traveler information and safety.
  • Work zone safety -- Exploring using driverless automated staging vehicles in work zones, reducing the danger to crews.
  • Traffic signals – Installing signal equipment to improve intersection safety and mobility by improving WSDOT system communication with vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Partnerships – Working with the telecom industry to identify ways to leverage the public right of way for future fiber and wireless uses.

Future opportunities

  • Connecting people to transit Continuing to explore partnerships to deploy automated shuttles and other first/last mile connections to transit and rideshare companies.
  • 5.9Ghz wireless spectrum – Identifying barriers and strategies to increase field deployments to preserve spectrum space for public safety uses.
  • Pavement markings – Identifying modifications that can benefit travelers now, while also preparing the system for automated vehicle needs.
  • Commerical vehicles – Identifying data sharing and infrastructure improvements that improve freight safety, mobility and system operations.

Testing in Washington state

While not regulated by WSDOT, the safe use of any Cooperative Automated Transportation vehicle is a priority for the state. Gov. Jay Inslee set parameters for safe operations and testing and his executive order requires:

  • Certification with the Department of Licensing
  • Proof of financial responsibility
  • Compliance with all laws and regulations
  • Equipment that can bring the vehicle to a safe condition in the event of system failure.
  • Further questions about testing or certification of autonomous vehicles can be sent to the Department of Licensing at 


Ted Bailey, P.E.
Cooperative Automated Transportation Program Manager

Daniela Bremmer
Cooperative Automated Transportation Development Manager