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Public Roads - Winter 2020

Winter 2020
Issue No:
Vol. 83 No. 4
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Guest Editorial

Collaborating for the Future of Transportation

by Mala Parker

Automated vehicle technology holds the promise of improving safety and has the potential to transform the Nation's roadways. A key driver for its success is collaboration. Automation provides an opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation, State and local leaders, and industry stakeholders to partner in new ways to prepare communities and road users for the future of transportation.

While the industry explores and tests the benefits of automated vehicle technology, the Federal Highway Administration is helping to facilitate collaboration and equip the owners and operators of roadways with information to make decisions that will improve safety and mobility for all road users. FHWA is well positioned to serve the highway community in this capacity because it works closely with transportation agencies in every State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. FHWA plays a key role in providing technical expertise and funding opportunities. In addition, the agency promotes the exchange of noteworthy practices and data to enhance knowledge on adopting and implementing automated vehicle technologies.

In 2018, FHWA launched a series of listening sessions with key transportation stakeholders and innovators in six cities to gather information and to have a better understanding of the technologies' implications for the transportation system. The goals of this National Dialogue on Highway Automation were to encourage collaboration and information-sharing and to receive input to inform FHWA actions. The sessions focused on planning and policy, digital infrastructure and data, freight, operations, and infrastructure design and safety. Using input from the National Dialogue, FHWA is developing resources to support the safe and efficient integration of automated driving systems. For more information, see "Mainstreaming Transportation Systems Management and Operations" on page 11 in this issue of Public Roads.

FHWA is also facilitating collaboration in research among diverse stakeholders interested in cooperative driving automation applications. Cooperative Automation Research Mobility Applications, or CARMASM, is an open-source software platform that is available to help advance and refine the communications technology used with automated vehicles. CARMA aims to accelerate an understanding of the safety and operational benefits of cooperative driving automation by testing new automation features. This initiative is providing the research community opportunities to cultivate relationships, share expertise, pilot transportation technologies, implement cooperative driving automation, and strengthen the transportation industry for public benefit. For more information, see "CARMASM: Driving Innovation" on page 28.

Important to these efforts is the multimodal approach USDOT takes under Secretary Elaine L. Chao's leadership. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a close partner in FHWA's research to advance truck platooning applications. These applications explore safe, automated truck freight delivery and its implications for traffic patterns. Another example is FHWA's collaboration with the Federal Transit Administration to improve safety, access, and mobility for underserved populations, including rural communities and people with disabilities, through research coordination and the development of the Complete Trips Deployment Program. This program enables communities to plan and showcase deployments that apply technology and emerging mobility services to expand access and mobility for all.

To fulfill the promise that automated vehicle technology holds for the future state of transportation, it is incumbent upon transportation leaders and innovators to work together at all levels. FHWA stands ready to do our part.

Mala Parker
Deputy Administrator
Federal Highway Administration