Despite the prevalence of advanced driving technology in today’s vehicles, the United States continues to see startling increases in traffic-related deaths. Pedestrian deaths have risen 46% in the last decade, and in 2021, there were 43,000 automotive fatalities reported – a 16-year high.
This is a crisis, and at Motional, we're committed to being part of the solution. Building driverless technology that has the power to save lives is at the heart of our mission, and the reason why our 1,100 employees come to work each day.
Our fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) will never drive distracted, drunk, or drowsy, which will help to reduce the lives lost from roadway incidents. However, we also understand that AVs are just one part of a much larger transportation ecosystem. Road safety goes beyond driving behaviors and encompasses pedestrian and cyclist-friendly streets, speed limiting infrastructure, effective use of public spaces, and more.
Over the last decade, we’ve spoken at length about the safety of our technology and its potential for communities. But we know that achieving safe streets requires a broader, more holistic perspective that considers the needs of everyone, no matter how they choose to get around. These issues demand more dialogue, and limiting the conversation to AVs would also be limiting the opportunity to make an impact.
This is why we’re launching Motional for Safe Streets, a new initiative where we’ll use our resources to create positive change across a wide variety of causes impacting road safety in urban areas.
Driving community impact and change
Through Motional for Safe Streets, we’ll use our voice as a leader in advanced mobility to raise awareness of the safety challenges faced by all who share the roadways. We’ll help address the challenges at the legislative and community levels by supporting public and private-sector organizations and efforts that are a part of this movement.
To start, we’ll focus on the communities where we operate, such as Los Angeles. LA is home to a growing segment of our U.S. operations, and is a city where officials are proactive in improving road safety. Under this new initiative, our work will include:
- Legislation support: We’re supporting the Bicycle Omnibus Bill that’s currently before the California Legislature, which would require vehicles to switch into an adjacent lane, if available, before overtaking a cyclist. We’re also supporting this bill that would require cities to include bicycle, pedestrian, and traffic calming elements when developing roadway plans.
- Advocacy and awareness: We’re partnering with organizations that are already driving tremendous change for vulnerable road users, such as CicLAvia and Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE). In May, we sponsored SAFE’s “Finish the Ride” event, and we’ll soon host a community dialogue with CicLAvia on the future of transportation.
- Community engagement: Motional safety operators already work to educate the public about AV technology as we test our vehicles in the LA community. As part of this new initiative, our employees will work to share their passion for road safety through volunteer efforts in partnership with CicLAvia, SAFE, and more.
Anchored in our passion for safety
At Motional, “Safety as our Bedrock” is one of our core company values. This means we embed safety throughout our product ideation, development, and deployment activities with precision and rigor. And, where industry rules and standards don’t exist, we lead the way. I’m proud of how Motional has established itself as an industry leader when it comes to safety.
This value is also reflective of our teams’ dedication to building technology that will make mobility dependable and more accessible. It’s the vision we’ve been working towards for years, and are on the cusp of making a reality with the launch of our fully driverless service.
Motional for Safe Streets extends this pledge beyond just our own passengers and vehicles, and adds a new dimension through our focus on overarching road safety.
It’s been said that the business of technology can no longer be confined to corporate walls. Rather, the real visionaries are the companies who are looking more broadly at how their technology will integrate with society, and are taking action.
I’m sure I speak for all Motional team members when I say it’s our pleasure to be part of the action that will lead to safer roads.
I invite you to read more about this new initiative here.