One CRC alternative: Self-driving cars on a dedicated extension

Google's self-driving car could serve as a template for a CRC alternative touted by a Portland blogger.

A local website has put forth a Columbia River Crossing-related proposal that, while it may seem a bit out-of-left-field-ish, is actually entertaining and, let’s face it, intriguing.

The site HaydenIslandInfo encouraged local officials still attempting to erect a revamped CRC to consider a system that would transport riders across the span with self-driving cars. The system is being tested in England.

“Personal rapid transit does not require a driver,” the site’s authors wrote. “It could provide inexpensive, on-demand transportation for Hayden island residents and visitors in a couple of years, with an option for expanded service into Vancouver and Expo Center light rail by 2018. The $2.4 million project would minimize the need for a $2.4 billion bridge crossing the Columbia River.”

Such vehicles could travel across a bridge extension dedicated especially made for the self-driving cars. Riders would debark either on Hayden Island or in Vancouver, catching other transportation to their homes.

Among the benefits, the site notes that Portland General Electric Co. would benefit from a switch to electric cars because it would be eligible for federal grants as it builds vehicle chargers.

The post includes a YouTube video featuring a blind driver using Google's self-driving car.

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