Connected/Automated Vehicles:
Issues for Transportation Research
Daniel S. Turner
TRB Technical Activities Council Chair
INTRO
• TRB workshops and symposia increased
understanding of connected/automated (C/A)
vehicle issues
• Clear that C/As have huge potential to
transform transportation
• Intrigues the public, press, and politicians
(rarely happens in our profession!)
• Can private sector wait for public sector?
• What do these trends mean for our profession?
IMPACTS ON TRB
• TRB Excom adopted a new strategic plan
• Bob Skinner will address it in the next session
o Action Plan, 5 year strategies/action items
• Foremost strategy is “Identify and address
emerging and critical transportation issues in a
more strategic and proactive manner”
o Supplements bottom-up committee approach,
coupled with a separate research program
• TRB designated C/As to demonstrate the new
“more strategic and proactive approach to
emerging issues”
• Previous TRB workshops helped identify the
most needed research
o Summarized in the July-Aug issue of TRB’s
bi-monthly magazine TR News
TR News July-August 2014
2013 Autonomous Vehicles Conference
• TRB Excom/standing committee leader actions:
o C/A forum with research directors of federal
agency sponsors
o Presentations by Experts
o Policy discussion on C/As
• Excom established “next steps” for TRB:
o
o
o
Go from developing questions to prioritizing
issues and prioritizing research
Identify C/A gaps, set priorities, and pursue as
appropriate
Coordinate TRB activities with fed sponsors
• One bullet
• One bullet
• One bullet
• One bullet
• One bullet
o TRB
will communicate updates to
transportation community
o 200 standing committees asked to discuss
C/A: interest/impact for each committee,
 Engage experts to discuss these issues
 Follow-up activities as appropriate
 Find innovated ways to move crosscutting nature of C/A into standing
committees
• Consider a SHRP2 type research program
STATE DOT & FED RESEARCH AGENCIES
Individual TRB Excom members and invited
guests explored a wide range of issues, including
the following observations:
FEDERAL ROLE (opinions on appropriate role
continue to vary)
• In today’s environment, is a major federal
program (i.e., interstate system) possible?
• Play a leading role in creating an environment
to enable innovation and deployment?
• Leading or junior partner to states and private
sector?
• Is it possible to develop and facilitate
deployment of V2I systems fast enough for
private sector?
• If not, will private sector move more forward
with “Google car” (mostly in-vehicle
technology) or another new technology?
• What federal legislation, regulations, policies
will be needed?
STATE GOVERNMENTS (includes DOTs)
• Need centralized highway control systems, like
air or other modes?
• Can DOTs deploy/operate V2I systems, given
current workloads and resources?
• By the time DOTs select infrastructure to deploy,
technology may have moved to the next phase
• Safety will improve, but will DOTs accrue new
liabilities?
• States must likely adopt new laws, regulations,
and certifications. How can we assure some
degree of uniformity among the states?
• Will conventional traffic control devices (signs,
signals, markings) support automation? Can
they be uniformly maintained at a high level to
support C/A data needs?
• Will C/A vehicles affect geometric design?
CONVENTIONAL RESEARCH PROCESSES
• Changes needed to effectively address C/A
vehicles
• May require different approaches to rapidly
move from research to deployment
• May need research based on actual
deployment to create rapid learning cycles
• May need to develop one or more “research
roadmaps”
TRB ACTIVITIES UNDERWAY
• Major C/A activities include:
o Sessions at 2015 Annual Meeting (spotlight
theme “Corridors to the Future – Transportation
and Technology”)
o
o
EU-US C/A Symposium on Research
Collaboration in April 2015 in DC
UTC Symposium on C/A in late 2015 in DC
CRP projects currently underway:
• A Look at the Legal Environment for Driverless
Vehicles
• Costs and Benefits of Public-Sector Deployment
of V2I Technologies
• Automated Vehicle Research Roadmap for
State DOTs
• Impacts of Automated Vehicles on State and
Local Transportation Agencies ($1M)
CONCLUSIONS
• C/A has exciting possibilities
• It has awakened interest at all levels, maybe
akin to the Interstate System
• It can radically change transportation
• There are still a lot of questions… and more
questions after that!
• But where there are questions…
• We turn to research to find answers and
identify priorities
• I look forward to the future, especially
the day that my C/A drives me to the TRB
Annual Meeting!
Of This Presentation
The beginning of an exciting
period of transportation
research, Implementation, and
Progress
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Connected/Automated Vehicles – Issues for Transportation Research