By: J. Sam Lott, P.E.
Research Assistant Professor
TSU’s Center for Transportation Training and Research (CTTR) is well underway on an NCHRP sponsored study of the future of autonomous vehicle transit systems.
Early assessments of the research needed to understand the implications of AV technology deployments have resulted in a slate of studies being performed under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) which is managed by the Transportation Research Board/National Academy of Sciences. One of these projects now underway is specifically addressing the transit applications of AV technology, and is titled NCHRP 20-102(02) Impacts of Regulations and Policies on CV and AV Technology Introduction in Transit Operations. This particular project work focusing on AV transit was awarded to a team of research entities, led by Dr. Douglas Gettman of Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
The 20-102(02) AV transit project has J. Sam Lott, a Research Assistant Professor at TSU’s CTTR, as the designated Principal Investigator. The work is being conducted in four basic tasks:
• Task 1 AV/CV Transit Technology Baseline
• Task 2 Transit Operator Issues and Impacts
• Task 3 Government Regulations and Laws
• Task 4 Next Steps: Process, Prioritization and Adjustments
A key element of the project work has been the conducting of two Transit Industry Stakeholder workshops, held concurrently with the 2016 Automated Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco and the 2016 APTA Conference in Los Angeles. During these industry workshops, the policy implications for transit operators were energetically discussed. The stakeholder workshops also generated considerable discussion on the topic of federal regulations and how they may be impacted by the coming paradigm shift that AV technology will bring to the transit industry.
Working papers are currently in preparation by TSU that address the AV technology baseline deployment scenarios, safety considerations and operating authority policy implications for transit applications. The complete documentation and final report by Kimley-Horn/TSU are scheduled for completion by March of 2017.