Connected vehicle (CV) and autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies offer the potential to significantly change public transportation systems and improve the safety, effectiveness, and quality of services. For instance, first- and last-mile AV services could bring riders to line haul modes and significantly increase ridership, while dynamic, on-demand services could improve service coverage to disabled individuals as well as transit services in rural and suburban areas.
Governing bodies, DOTs, and local transportation agencies will require a better understanding of the ramifications of emerging CV/AV enabled applications. For example, extensive regulations, rules, and contracts govern the operations and characteristics of transit systems. Some of them, such as preservation of current job categories, could be incompatible with the new technologies. Almost certainly, the role of transit drivers will change and that will require significant coordination with labor unions. Also, there will be a need for new safety certification procedures of AV transit systems that are not confined to fixed guideways, as well as new risk insurance models and pricing. Such issues need to be identified, understood, and next steps identified to enable the widespread adoption of CV/AV technologies in transit systems.
The objectives of this research are to: (1) describe the current regulatory and policy landscape of transit system planning, development, funding, implementation, and operations that could impact the introduction of CV/AV technologies; (2) describe regulatory and policy changes that may be needed to facilitate the enhancement of existing, and implementation of new forms of public transportation enabled by various CV/AV technologies; and (3) identify and discuss the implications of CV/AV technologies for stakeholders involved in the governance and regulation of public transportation.
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how to best achieve the project objectives. Proposals are expected to describe a research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposer’s current thinking described in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach in meeting the research objectives.
A kick-off conference call between the research team and the NCHRP project panel shall be scheduled as soon as practical after the contract’s execution. In addition, monthly and quarterly reports should include a list of decisions to be made and highlights of any significant developments in the private or public sectors that could influence the course of this project.
The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail. The work plan shall include, but not be limited to, addressing the following issues:
- Geographic context (urban, suburban, rural)
- Implications of multi-jurisdictional stakeholder involvement, including labor union perspectives
- Policy and planning implications, especially integration into the existing processes
- Issues likely needing state, local, or federal legislative action
- Workforce implications
- Infrastructure and operational implications
- Privacy, liability, legal, safety and security issues
- Direct benefits (safety, productivity, economic competiveness, environmental)
- Timing for policy changes given uncertainty about technology and market penetration
At a minimum, deliverables shall include:
- Draft final report
- Final report and stand-alone executive summary
- A stand-alone technical memorandum titled “The Implementation of Findings and Products” (see Special Note F)