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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
Spring 2021
Issue No:
Vol. 85 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Along the Road

Along The Road

Yellowstone National Park's scenic Grand Canyon area. Source: Volpe Center.
The Volpe Center is assisting the National Park Service with an automated shuttle pilot that will provide service in Yellowstone's Canyon Village, located near the scenic Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, shown here.

Along the Road is the place to look for information about current and upcoming activities, developments, trends, and items of general interest to the highway community. This information comes from U.S. Department of Transportation sources unless otherwise indicated. Your suggestions and input are welcome. Let's meet along the road.


'Mayor Pete' Buttigieg Begins New Era as U.S. Secretary of Transportation

On February 3, 2021, Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as the Nation's 19th Secretary of Transportation, ushering in a new era focused on climate change, racial equity, and economic development.

Previously, he served two terms as mayor of South Bend, IN. After graduating from Harvard University and completing his time as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Buttigieg served for 7 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, taking a leave of absence from the mayor's office in 2014 for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Known widely as "Mayor Pete," Buttigieg worked to transform South Bend's future and improve daily life for its residents. During Buttigieg's time as mayor, South Bend's household income grew, poverty fell, and unemployment was cut in half. The city established new resources to extend opportunity and access to technology for all residents, and launched a "Smart Streets" initiative to improve street design. His complete streets strategy helped to fuel small business growth along previously neglected corridors, and attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in the once-emptying downtown.

His leadership helped spark citywide job growth and facilitated innovative public-private partnerships like Commuters Trust, a benefits program designed to improve the city's transportation experience for workers.

In 2019, he launched his historic campaign for President. Throughout 2020, he campaigned for the election of the Biden-Harris ticket and served on the advisory board for the Presidential transition. In December, he was nominated by President-elect Biden to be Secretary of Transportation. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 2, 2021, becoming the first openly gay person confirmed to serve in a President's Cabinet.

Public Information and Information Exchange

Watch the EDC-6 Virtual Summit On-Demand

In December 2020, more than 2,000 people attended the EDC-6 Virtual Summit to learn about the new innovations featured in the sixth round of the Federal Highway Administration's Every Day Counts program (EDC-6). For anyone who could not attend, the sessions, videos, and print material are available on demand.

Watch team leaders lay out their vision for each EDC-6 innovation, listen to compelling success stories from agencies already using them, explore the virtual exhibit floor to learn about innovations from this and past rounds of EDC, and visit the National State Transportation Innovation Councils (STIC) Network Showcase to learn about more than 200 homegrown innovations developed and deployed across the country.

The agenda for the virtual summit is available at To access the summit content, which will be available until December 2021, register at

For more information, see the "Innovation Corner" on page 3 of this issue of Public Roads.

USDOT Releases Update to ITS Architecture Reference and Toolsets

In late 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation released the Architecture Reference for Cooperative and Intelligent Transportation (ARC-IT) version 9.0, a major update to the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) reference architecture and accompanying toolsets—the Regional Architecture Development for Intelligent Transportation (RAD-IT) and the project-focused Systems Engineering Tool for Intelligent Transportation (SET-IT).

ARC-IT and its tools support development of customized regional and project architectures to meet local needs while enabling safe, secure, and efficient nationally interoperable ITS deployments. Changes include enhanced content to support vehicle automation informed by research results and stakeholder input, including the National Dialogue on Highway Automation, along with expanded ITS services.

ARC-IT 9.0 expands the Communications Viewpoint with re-imagined diagrams along with greater detail on information exchanges and identification of suitable standards. As ARC-IT now includes services and content contributed by multiple international partners, it now supports geographic-awareness to facilitate use in multiple regions and to enable U.S. use of internationally contributed services.

Version 9.0 adds several new ITS services (for a total of 150 services), along with new physical and functional objects. It also reintroduces "environmental terminators" that describe system boundaries representing the roadway and surrounding physical environment that ITS subsystems might sense or need to accommodate. Users of version 7.1 and earlier might recognize some of these; their purpose now is to enable users to better understand the relationships between the physical environment and the entities that own, operate, and maintain the roadway and vehicles, with specific interests associated with highly automated vehicles.

As with version 8.3, ARC-IT 9.0 is available online at or via a single download that contains most ARC-IT content that may be installed locally for offline use.

The RAD-IT regional and SET-IT project architecture toolsets have both been upgraded to accommodate ARC-IT 9.0 along with additional standalone features, including the enhanced ability for users to exchange information between the two tools.

For more information, visit

The home page of ARC-IT version 9.0. Source: USDOT.

Volpe Center Supports First NPS Automated Shuttle Pilot

In May 2021, the National Park Service (NPS) will host its first automated shuttle pilot in the Nation's first national park, Yellowstone National Park. The pilot will involve the deployment of a low-speed automated shuttle in the Canyon Village area of Yellowstone. The project is using funds provided by the FHWA Technology and Innovation Deployment Program in concert with FHWA's Office of Federal Lands Highway.

NPS has three primary goals for this pilot. First, to enhance the visitor experience by facilitating new interpretive opportunities and improving mobility assistance. Second, to demonstrate the use of autonomous vehicle (AV) shuttle technologies for public use in novel operating environments, including rural/remote areas and/or recreational settings in mixed traffic, and how those outcomes could be applied to other public lands. Finally, to identify and overcome unforeseen regulatory and organizational barriers of emerging mobility technologies.

To date, most automated shuttle pilots have been held in urban areas, and the remote setting at Yellowstone will provide NPS and AV industry leaders with an opportunity to assess the suitability of these technologies for use in public lands.

USDOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) supported the NPS pilot through technical assistance, including the development of a sources-sought request to learn more about automated shuttle technologies and a request for quotes that resulted in the selection of a private vendor to conduct the pilot. Volpe staff have also provided technical expertise on automated shuttle technologies to NPS staff.

The Volpe Center will continue to provide technical assistance to NPS as pilot planning continues. Volpe will also carry out an evaluation of the pilot following its completion in fall 2021. This evaluation will involve assessing the performance of the shuttle and its automated technology based on a range of metrics to be collected during the pilot, including shuttle ridership, route performance, battery performance, and interventions from the shuttle's safety operator. By assessing the shuttle's performance in Yellowstone's remote/recreational setting, the evaluation will inform potential use cases for automated shuttle technologies at other NPS and public land sites.

For more information, contact Travis Crayton at