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June 7, 2018 9:15 am

National Dialogue on Highway Automation: Launch Workshop

  • Government
  • Agency
  • Robotics/AI

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is initiating a national conversation with partners and stakeholders to better understand the implications of highway automation to facilitate innovation and inform the Agency's role in this area. Automated vehicles have the potential to significantly transform the nation's roadways. They offer potential benefits in safety but also introduce uncertainty for the agencies responsible for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the roadway infrastructure. This National Dialogue on Highway Automation represents a series of meetings held across the country to facilitate information sharing, identify key issues and prepare the infrastructure and the broader transportation community to safely and efficiently integrate automated vehicles into the road network. Input received during the National Dialogue will help inform national research, policy, and programs and will aid in the development of a national transportation community for automation.

This National Dialogue will engage an expanded set of stakeholders, beyond FHWA's typical stakeholders, in order to ensure that this issue has broad input. These stakeholders will include but are not limited to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), technology suppliers, transportation network companies (TNCs), associations, and public-sector partners.

The meetings will be held in different locations across the country, running from June 2018 through the end of 2018. These meetings will be conducted as 1 to 1.5 day events and generally include 100 to 150 participants. These meetings are meant to gather input and information from stakeholders and will include significant interactive components, such as breakout discussions and listening sessions.

The objectives for the National Dialogue include the following:

  1. Listen: Gather input from a broad group of stakeholders on key issues, challenges, and concerns in highway automation, such as infrastructure readiness, traffic operations, transportation planning, and other topics impacted by automation.
  2. Engage: Facilitate information sharing between industry, public agencies and others to understand the current state of automated driving systems and roadway capabilities and inform FHWA actions.
  3. Evolve: Update institutional structures for working with existing and new stakeholders. Aid in developing new partnerships and strengthening coordination channels between industry, associations, public agencies, and other key groups.
  4. Inform: Raise awareness of FHWA and USDOT activities in automation and emerging technologies. Identify opportunities for strategic partnerships between Federal activity and State, local, and industry activity.

Automation Focus Areas

  1. Planning and Policy: This focus area will explore relevant issues for the planning and policy community, such as travel demand changes from automation, land use implications, infrastructure funding, right of way use, transportation systems management and operations, automation legislation/policy and other topics.
  2. Digital Infrastructure and Data: This focus area will center on the data requirements and needs of automated vehicles (e.g., digital work zone maps, road closures, etc.). It will explore the possibility of developing new partnerships and collaboration between public agencies and industry for data sharing and safety.
  3. Multimodal Safety and Infrastructure Design: This focus area will cover infrastructure requirements, standardization, and consistency for automation. It will highlight topics where automation technology developers and public agencies need collaboration to plan for locations where existing roadway infrastructure, road conditions, design features and environments could lead to potential safety hazards.
  4. Operations: This focus area will survey the range of operations challenges from highway automation and initiate a discussion on what further research is necessary to address them. These challenges may include incident management and system inefficiency which may have implications on traffic patterns and roadway capacity.
  5. Freight: This focus area will deal with truck platooning applications and automated truck freight delivery issues. It will cover possible implications on traffic patterns and operations, as well as potential infrastructure considerations.

Full details are available via the FHWA Office of Operations.