Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT)

Cooperative Automated Transportation

Roadway safety in a cooperative automated world

Highway automation is not years away, or even days away. It’s here now, causing a number of state transportation agencies to react with initiatives related to preparing and supporting Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) on U.S. roadways.

Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT) deals with CAVs, which are vehicles capable of driving on their own with limited or no human involvement in navigation and control. Per the definition adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are six levels of automation (Levels 0-2: driver assistance and Levels 3-5: HAV), each of which requires its own specification and marketplace considerations.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) and Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

For traffic safety, vehicle-to-everything communications is the wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between vehicles and anything else. The "X" could be roadway infrastructure, other vehicles, roadway workers or other safety and communication devices. ATSSA members are at the forefront of these technologies, and are working with stakeholders across new industries to see these innovations come to life.

Sensor Technology

CAVs rely on three main groups of sensors: camera, radar, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). The camera sensors capture moving objects and the outlines of roadway devices to get speed and distance data. Short- and long-range radar sensors work to detect traffic from the front and the back of CAVs. LIDAR systems produce three-dimensional images of both moving and stationary objects.

For more information about ATSSA’s efforts on CAT and CAV’s and their interaction with our member products check out the resources below.



Traffic fatalities rose an estimated 10.5% in 2021, reach 16-year high, NHTSA reports

Trend in fatality rate for vehicle miles traveled decreased for three quarters of 2021

Traffic fatalities across the U.S. rose 10.5% in 2021 to a projected 42,915 deaths, reaching a 16-year high, according to statistics released today by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

That projected increase from 38,824 fatalities in 2020 is “the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history,” NHTSA announced today.

“We face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the news release. “With our National Roadway Safety Strategy and the president’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are taking critical steps to help reverse this devastating trend and save lives on our roadways.” 

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner joined Buttigieg in expressing concern over the record-breaking fatality rate.

“ATSSA’s members have devoted their lives to roadway safety and providing the infrastructure and technology needed to save the lives of the motoring public as well as men and women working on our roadways,” Tetschner said. “This unprecedented increase in traffic fatalities brings home the importance of our work and the necessity of government and private industry partnering to provide safe thoroughfares. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was enacted into law in November, provides historic levels of federal funding for roadway safety infrastructure projects. Departments of transportation around the country, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, must prioritize getting these funds to critical, lifesaving safety projects as soon as possible. We know that safer roads save lives. ATSSA members are ready to go to work with their agency partners to move toward zero deaths on all roads.”

The statistics provided by NHTSA are early estimates of traffic fatalities and fatality rates for 2021. The following categories saw some of the largest increases, according to the NHTSA analysis:

  • Fatalities in multi-vehicle crashes, up 16% 
  • Fatalities on urban roads, up 16% 
  • Fatalities among drivers 65 and older, up 14% 
  • Pedestrian fatalities, up 13% 
  • Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck, up 13% 
  • Daytime fatalities, up 11% 
  • Motorcyclist fatalities, up 9% 
  • Bicyclist fatalities, up 5% 
  • Fatalities in speeding-related crashes, up 5% 
  • Fatalities in police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes, up 5%.

The one bit of positive news in the NHTSA report was seen in data looking at vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) preliminary data show that VMT increased by about 325 billion miles, about 11.2% over 2020.

Fatalities per 100 million VMT dipped slightly from 1.34 in 2020 to 1.33 in 2021, according to NHTSA. But, more importantly, while the rate continued to climb for the first quarter of 2021, it declined in each of the next three quarters.

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