The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(27) [Pending]

Realistic Timing Estimates for Automated Vehicle Implementation
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $150,000
Contract Time: 15 months
Staff Responsibility: Camille Crichton-Sumners


The integration of automated vehicle (AV) technology into surface transportation is expected to reduce environmental impacts and enhance the movement of people and goods in the United States. While there has been significant growth in the development of AV, however, issues related to cybersecurity, data privacy, connectivity, and operating system maintenance costs contribute to its complexity and there is great uncertainty about the rate of deployment. Transportation agencies planning for AV implementation need realistic implementation timelines to aid decision-making. They need to identify a range of estimates—from optimistic to conservative—of market introduction and growth profiles for a broad range of the representative automated driving services that account for limiting factors such as rate of advancement in technologies, level of effort needed to expand operational design domains for each AV application, and the time and conditions for users to adopt new technologies.


The objectives of this research are to (1) identify influencing factors and risks that affect the timing of the deployment of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 AV technologies, described in SAE J3016, in diverse scenarios; (2) define operational concept and input parameters for a decision-making model that will estimate deployment timeframes; and (3) develop recommendations for how and at what frequency a model and its parameters should be updated.

Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their research approach. They must provide a detailed research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of the available funds and contract time. The research plan shall be divided logically into detailed tasks that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives.

The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that give consideration to the following concepts: (1) the level of technical effort and investments required by agencies to safely operate AVs within various operational design domains such as urban or rural applications, climate/weather, roadway classifications, interaction with vulnerable road users, topography, geometric design, and infrastructure/asset readiness; (2) the ability of private entities to safely deploy AV technologies while considering barriers related to costs, technological limitations, supply chain, and local regulatory environments; (3) the amount of time and the conditions needed for different sectors of the user population to adopt new AV technologies and services; (4)  historical data on the rate of growth of new features and enhancements (e.g., how these have gone from being optional features only available on expensive vehicles to being standard features on new vehicles and the turnover rate of the domestic vehicle fleet.); (5) passenger and goods movement applications in personal and fleet vehicle operation; (6) reasonable consideration for near term and long-range planning requirements; and (7) the need for decision makers to consider a range of optimistic to conservative assumptions of parameter values in a model. 

The proposal shall include, but are not limited to the following:

• A kick-off web conference with the NCHRP panel convened within 1 month of the contract’s execution;
• Appropriate milestones, interim deliverables, and opportunities for the project panel to review, comment, and approve interim deliverables;
• Interim deliverables that include, at a minimum, the identification of influencing factors and risks that affect the timing of the deployment of the SAE Level 4 AV technologies, described in SAE J3016, in diverse scenarios;
• A final report documenting the entire research effort;
• Prioritized recommendations for future research;
• A PowerPoint-style presentation describing the background, objectives, research approach, findings, and conclusions; and
• A presentation of findings—suitable for a webinar—to one AASHTO committee or council concerned with AV technologies.


1. NCHRP approval of interim deliverables are required prior to advancing to any subsequent tasks.

2. The proposer shall include a meeting mid-way through the project with the NCHRP project panel to discuss the work accomplished to date and to confirm the work plan for remaining tasks. If the meeting is held in-person, NCHRP will host the meeting in Washington, D.C. and will be responsible for the cost of panel member travel. If the meeting is held online, NCHRP will cover the costs associated with teleconference services.

3. The proposer shall include a virtual meeting with one AASHTO committee or council, and the NCHRP project panel. NCHRP will be responsible for the costs associated with teleconference services.
4. Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining month shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.

Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.

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