Transportation Expo rolls into Dixie with free rides and a glimpse into future trends

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Offering a glimpse into the future of transportation in Washington County, the 2020 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo began Tuesday at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George.

Utah Department of Transportation Autonomous Shuttle Pilot vehicle, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

The annual event — which provides Southern Utahns the chance to be educated on a wide array of regional transit, road and traffic light projects as well as bike trail developments — started at 10 a.m. Tuesday and continues until 6 p.m.

This year, the expo features a demonstration and free rides on the Utah Department of Transportation’s Autonomous Shuttle Pilot vehicle which is currently being considered for use across the state.

With no driver’s seat, steering wheel, pedals or other standard controls normally associated with vehicles, the shuttle is completely autonomous. It has room for up to 12 passengers, and with a “shuttle host” on board for monitoring, it uses a range of sensors to react to vehicles, pedestrians and other obstacles as it follows a pre-determined route through the city.

The pilot vehicle, launched in partnership with the Utah Transit Authority, is now in its “technology testing” period. The event offers the public an opportunity to better understand autonomous vehicle technology and give feedback to its developers.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike was among the first in Southern Utah to take a ride on the shuttle.

“The future is here folks, and I’m excited to be with you to be a part of it, especially in this all-important area of transportation where we can embrace opportunities that will keep more cars off the streets,” Pike said.

Dixie Transportation Expo 2020, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2020 | Photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

According to a press release for the expo, everyone is welcome to learn more about transportation and join the conversation that helps shape local trends. Regional planners are seeking public input on the 2019-2050 Regional Transportation Plan that forecasts future travel demands and sets goals and objectives for the next 30 years.

Planners and community leaders will discuss projects along state Route 9, Interstate 15, the future Southern Parkway connection, the city of Hurricane’s newly adopted Transportation Masterplan, Suntran’s new routes and the Regional Airport masterplan. Participants include Dixie MPO, Five County AOG, Horrocks Engineering, Hurricane City, Ivins City/Santa Clara City, St. George City, Washington City, Sunrise Engineering and HW Lochner.

“The 2020 Transportation Expo is an excellent venue to learn about local transportation trends and provide meaningful input that may shape the future of Washington County,” the press release states. “If current trends continue, and there is no evidence to the contrary, Washington County will then be home to 371,000 people who will need to travel between work, home, shopping and entertainment venues.”

The Dixie Convention Center is located at 1835 Convention Center Drive. Admission is free and autonomous vehicle rides will continue until 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the 2020 Dixie Transportation Expo website, or follow updates on their Facebook page.

Event details

  • What: 2020 Dixie Transportation Expo.
  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George.
  • Information: Website.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.


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