Ganim Pitches Driverless Car Technology For Downtown

Mayor Joe Ganim envisions Downtown as a start-up test center for autonomous vehicles. In a letter to the tri-chairs of the state legislature’s Transportation Committee, Ganim is pitching designated lanes Downtown for the testing process that would include installation of transponders. Where could this be done? Water Street?

Ganim this week wrote to legislators Carlo Leone, Antonio Guerrera and Toni Boucher:

I write today to offer the City of Bridgeport as a test location for autonomous vehicles in the State  of Connecticut. In anticipation of the legislature passing Senate Bill No. 260, the task force created by its enactment will need locations to test this emerging technology. As the state’s largest city, Bridgeport is a good fit for this type of testing.

Specifically, the downtown tear drop area is experiencing a renaissance with more transit-oriented housing, restaurants and quality of life improvements. This area includes the University of  Bridgeport, Webster Bank Arena and Harbor Yard ballpark to the south, and stretches northward to include Housatonic Community College and the two downtown theaters currently being redeveloped. It also encompasses the area surrounding our multi-modal transportation center including our bus and train stations connecting to Greater Bridgeport Transit, Metro North and Amtrak railway service. Autonomous vehicles provide a unique opportunity for residents and university students to access entertainment and transportation in Bridgeport.

The City of Bridgeport would like to assist with the evolution of autonomous vehicles. Our cooperation would include designated lanes in the downtown area for the testing process and the willingness to install transponders on existing infrastructure. The Bridgeport legislative delegation also supports this proposal which would keep the Park City at the forefront of innovation in Connecticut.



  1. To utilize designated lanes on Main St downtown they would have to make Main St one way and remove all parking on both sides of the street. In fact I can’t think of any street downtown that could have designated lanes without it being one-way and without meters

  2. So what happens when the autonomous vehicle meets our automatic parking meters? Do they get an app faster than that provided to drivers today?

    The budget meeting today commented on the major millions that the City has taken for traffic lights and the responsibility to keep that system operating well, less risks are created for City drivers?? Another electrician, please, taxpayers?? The Council members are being pitched new and additional employees at a time when they must focus on cutting. As always, that causes them a problem. No priorities of public service to use in making choices? Focusing 20 minutes and stories to discuss a $6,000 salary cut? How do you find the Millions that may be necessary depending on how the State decides? On the Print Shop, nothing was said about their request for $100,000 new salary and benefits, but $10,000 of revenue will be added meaning they have to change the MISSION of that Department? Or will Ken Flatto find the authorization? And let us know where the revenues from Print Department has gone in past years? Time will tell.

  3. And the OPED genius who recognized this “tremendous opportunity” based the offer to use Bridgeport as a public safety lab rat on the basis of what sound knowledge and analysis of driverless car safety and efficiency models?…

    One more reason to avoid downtown Bridgeport for the foreseeable future… No significant attractions or real economic development that would attract anyone, let alone college students, but we’re offering to jeopardize downtown pedestrian safety/traffic safety so that we can present a progressive appearance?! Sounds like the same brain-damaged thought process that gave us those cutting-edge parking, tourist-attraction parking meters… Unbelievable! City Halls 1 and 2 are describable more in “mentally-challenged workshop” terms than actual settings for main-stream municipal accomplishment… They shouldn’t let the OPED planners watch those CPTV technology-teaching cartoons at work anymore…

  4. The City and “the Delegation” are willing to invest in this non-sensical pursuit (autonomous cars are not non-sensical, but wasting our tax dollars on testing them in such a spatially limited geography is), but STILL hasn’t tackled the real and present danger that is the intersection of State and Lafayette? This just takes the cake re: ignorance. Unless we’re talking Water St., there is not a single street Downtown that can spare to lose a lane (and for how long?). Unless there is a windfall of a financial payoff, this idea is embarrassing.


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