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USDOT asks public & private sectors for input on emerging technologies issues, policies

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has created an advisory committee to provide advice about plans and approaches for transportation innovation.

The Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee (TTAC) is made up of 27 professionals from academia, think tanks, the public sector, labor, and industry that cover automation, cybersecurity, safety, accessibility, law, government, entrepreneurship, privacy, equity, and more. It will consider issues related to safe, secure, equitable, environmentally friendly, and accessible deployment and cross-modal integration of emerging technologies, including automation applications.

The committee will also look at policies that encourage innovation, growth of and support for a safe and productive workforce, and economic competitiveness.

“We are living in a time filled with unprecedented opportunity and unprecedented challenges in transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The deep expertise and diverse perspectives of this impressive group will provide advice to ensure the future of transportation is safe, efficient, sustainable, equitable, and transformative.”

USDOT said it appointed individuals to the committee that it found to have in-depth knowledge of their respective industries or sectors and have worked to achieve diverse and comprehensive points of view. Membership is unpaid and is in two-year terms. Members can be reappointed.

Other issues the committee will focus on include, according to USDOT:

    • “Approaches and frameworks that encourage the secure exchange and sharing of transformative transportation data, including technologies and infrastructure across the public and private sectors that can guide core policy decisions across DOT’s strategic goals; and
    • “Ways the Department can identify and elevate cybersecurity solutions and protect privacy across transportation systems and infrastructure.”

Committee members are:

    • Nat Beuse, Aurora vice president of safety
    • John Bozzella, Alliance for Automotive Innovation (Auto Innovators) president and CEO
    • Jim Burg, James Burg Trucking Company president and CEO
    • Laura Chace, ITS America, president and CEO
    • Mark Chung, National Safety Council executive vice president of roadway practice
    • Matthew Colvin, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Transportation Trades Department chief of staff
    • Steve Dellenback, Southwest Research Institute vice president of intelligent systems
    • Thomas Dwiggins, Chandler Fire Department chief fire officer, Chandler Fire Department
    • Carol Flannagan, research professor and director of the Center for the Management of Information for Safe and Sustainable Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
    • Shelley Francis, EV Noire co-founder and managing partner
    • Kelly Funkhouser, Consumer Reports associate director of vehicle technology
    • Kate Gallego, City of Phoenix, Arizona Mayor
    • Kim Lucas, City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Director of Mobility and Infrastructure
    • Tekedra Mawakana, Waymo co-CEO
    • Swati Mylavarapu, Incite co-founder
    • Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie-Mellon University electrical and computer engineering professor
    • Bryan Reimer, Center for Transportation and Logistics/AgeLab at MIT research scientist
    • Catherine Ross, Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Cole Scandaglia, International Brotherhood of Teamsters senior legislative representative and policy advisor
    • Steve Shladover – Research Engineer, University of California Berkeley
    • Bryant Walker Smith, University of South Carolina School of Law associate professor
    • Bernard Soriano, California Department of Motor Vehicles deputy director
    • Amie Stepanovich, Future of Privacy Forum U.S. policy vice president
    • Jeffrey Tumlin, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation
    • Carol Tyson, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund government affairs liaison
    • Eileen Vélez-Vega, Puerto Rico Department of Public Works and Transportation secretary
    • Maria Trinidad “Triny” Willerton, It Could Be Me president and founder

During Auto Innovators’ inaugural “Auto Tech Showcase: Innovation on the Road,” Bozzella spoke on emerging technologies in the automotive industry.

He said today’s vehicles are “as clean, as safe, and as smart as they’ve ever been,” and the automotive industry is just getting started. The showcase was held in Washington, D.C. in September 2023. It brought federal policymakers and regulators together with automotive companies to better understand emerging technologies in the industry.

The industry, Bozzella said, is increasingly defined by words not normally thought to be associated with vehicles including autonomy, connectivity, electrification, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G, lidar, biometric sensors, and the cloud.

“These technologies force us to collectively confront and answer some important policy questions as well,” he said. “Is the country and our driving infrastructure prepared for these emerging technologies? How do we remove barriers to consumer adoption of EVs, advanced safety technologies, and new forms of high-speed connectivity? How do we ensure that advanced vehicle technologies are accessible and affordable to all Americans? Are state and federal laws, policies, and regulations aligned or in conflict with the current transformation?

“You can’t really answer those questions and get the legal and regulatory framework in place until you understand the technology; not read about it or see a demonstration on YouTube, but to really touch it and experience it firsthand.”

Bozzella posted on LinkedIn that he’s proud to be a member of the committee.

“Partnerships like this are KEY to getting the #transportation transformation right,” he wrote.

Funkhouser also posted about the committee on LinkedIn.

“I am honored and humbled to announce that I have been invited to serve on an advisory committee alongside many of my industry colleague experts to advise Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the U.S. Department of Transportation on important issues related to transportation technologies,” she wrote. “I am most looking forward to offering insight from Consumer Reports by ensuring the voice of consumers is always at the table.”

The first TTAC meeting will be held on Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meeting will be open to the public via livestream.


Featured image: Concept art depicting creative thinking and innovation. (Credit: Dilok Klaisataporn/iStock)

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