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ATSSA stresses importance of standardized TCD regulations and roadside infrastructure at FHWA National Dialogue on Highway Automation series
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ATSSA stresses importance of standardized TCD regulations and roadside infrastructure at FHWA National Dialogue on Highway Automation series

Workshops provide opportunities for transportation industry members to listen, engage, inform, and develop solutions to advance toward highway automation

ATSSA is vocalizing member needs and concerns by participating in a series of meetings and workshops designed to open discussion between stakeholders within the transportation industry on key issues and challenges related to highway automation. 

Earlier this year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the agency would be holding events across the United States that focus on the key areas of planning and policy, digital infrastructure and data, freight, operations, and infrastructure design and safety.

“ATSSA is heavily invested in communicating with outside public agencies, auto manufacturers, the roadway safety and infrastructure industry and the transportation community as a whole,” said ATSSA Director of New Programs Brian Watson. “The series of events focused on highway automation are prime opportunities to vocalize our safety initiatives and to ensure roadway safety is a priority throughout the string of conversations that are occurring as we move to an automated future. ATSSA has stressed the importance of minimum standard guidance of traffic control devices, roadside infrastructure, and updates to national standards and regulations, and digital infrastructure, as these focal points increase safety on our nation’s roadways.”

During the first event focused on policy and planning, attendees gathered to share information on the current state of Automated Vehicle (AV) technology, infrastructure readiness, and policy implications of introducing these new technologies.

The second meeting was held in early August and focused data and digital infrastructure and what role this information would play in preparing for CAVs and AVs. Important considerations were discussed including establishing long- and short-term goals, the roles of local, state, and federal agencies, and national partnership modes.

Additionally, there were critical conversations related to digital infrastructure and how it will interact with physical infrastructure, security issues, and data sharing between state transportation departments and other relevant stakeholders, and data ownership. Other discussions included sharing of AV pilot project information, the need for a national consensus on data standardization, near-miss data sharing, and what entities should maintain data. 

Work zones and lane closures were areas of concern with digital tracking and mapping. Moving forward, there will be the need for accurate, real time data to safely and accurately update maps to protect those who will be working in work zones.

Ultimately, there was discussion on how to build consensus on how the roles of local, state, and federal levels should manage CAV technology, considering they will potentially have different transportation policies, laws, and standards. Roadway safety manufacturers and installers will play an important role in advancing CAV and AV technologies, as these innovations rely heavily on ATSSA member products.

“Communication with roadway safety manufacturers is vital,” Watson said. “ATSSA members are responsive but there needs to be an open line of communication between government agencies and automakers in order to provide the best support for CAVs and AVs.”

The next national meeting will be held Oct. 24-25 in Phoenix, Arizona and will focus on operations. ATSSA members should pay close attention to the final meeting in this series of discussions that will focus on infrastructure and safety the week of Dec. 3 in Austin, Texas. 

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