08-12-20 | News

Automated Driving Systems

Raising Awareness and Preparing for Autonomous Transit Systems

The U.S. Department of Transportation states the continuing evolution of automated driving technology aims to deliver even greater safety benefits.

The United States Department of Transportation has announced the first nine companies and eight states who will participate in the Automated Vehicle Transparency and Engagement for Safe Testing (AV TEST) Initiative. The new Department initiative is intended to raise public awareness and understanding on activities that support safe development and on-road testing of Automated Driving Systems in the U.S. through the sharing of information from Federal, State and local governments and stakeholders.

One of the participating states of the AV TEST, California, has allowed testing of an autonomous vehicle without a driver behind the wheel through a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). With the majority of autonomous vehicle testing requiring a person in the driver seat who can at any time take control of the vehicle, the California DMV has now issued three Autonomous Vehicle Driverless Testing Permits.

Other participating states include Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. While these states will host testing locations for the AV TEST Initiative's participating companies, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released guidelines for all cities in order to prepare for autonomous transit systems. According to NACTO, cities should do the following:


Enshrine a Commitment to Transit in Asphalt and Concrete
Cities and transit agencies can begin by upgrading busy bus routes into rapid, high-frequency lines, adding transit signal priority technology and by investing in station infrastructure that anchors bus transit in place and supports better operations.

Redesign Bus Networks for Improved Travel Time and Reliability
To best take advantage of the potential increases in efficiency offered by AV technology, cities and transit operators should collaborate on holistic transit network redesigns that will improve service and simplify transit operations.

Start Transitioning Transit Fleets, Support Infrastructure and Staff
Cities and transit agencies can set fleet fuel economy standards and target dates for fleet replacement, prioritize electric vehicle infrastructure for buses and other high-capacity vehicles that reduce VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and invest in staff development to ensure that workers have the technical skills to oversee and maintain autonomous fleets.

Ensure Fleet Vehicles and Station Infrastructure is Wired for Technology
Cities should ensure they have the hardware and software necessary to support transit signal priority and vehicle-to-vehicle/infrastructure communications.

Streamline Payment and Transfers
Operators should eliminate transfer fees, offer discounts for multimodal travel, and enable payment through a single portal for all services, whether public or private.

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