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Suggested Citation:"2. GENERAL ADVICE AND NEXT STEPS." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Research and Technology Coordinating Committee Letter Report: November 9, 2018. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25315.
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10 Cooperative Automated Driving Systems Research Carl Anderson, Connected Automation Program Manager, provided an overview of FHWA’s connected vehicle RD&T. He explained how FHWA has an important role in researching the physical infrastructure needs of connected driver systems; furthering the application of connected systems for managing congestion, incidents, and work zones; and determining the extent to which infrastructure elements will need to digitized (e.g., digital lane markings and work zone maps). He discussed FHWA’s cooperative agreement with a private consortium, Crash Avoidance Metrics Partners, LLC, which includes 9 automobile and truck manufacturers, to develop vehicle-to- infrastructure applications. One of the projects, to assess traffic optimization in signalized corridors, was described in more detail. It involves plans for several such corridors in Texas and Michigan. In addition, Anderson discussed FHWA’s research activities on vehicle platooning, speed harmonization, and cooperative merging to increase highway capacity and reduce congestion. He explained how the agency is developing an open-source platform for researchers to study the cooperation and mobility aspects of connected vehicles. Anderson noted that USDOT has been appropriated $38 million for transportation automation research and that FHWA has launched a national dialogue to gather input from stakeholders on key issues, concerns, and challenges associated with highway automation. The dialogue involves a series of workshops, listening sessions, and symposia scheduled for the second half of 2018 to facilitate information sharing and the identification of research needs, to aid in the development of institutional mechanisms for collaboration, and to raise awareness of FHWA and USDOT activities on automation. The dialogue focus areas include understanding automation’s travel demand effects for planning; digital infrastructure needs; and implications on traffic patterns, roadway capacity, and safe design. Discussion Committee members were pleased to learn of FHWA’s efforts to partner with industry on connected vehicle research. This topic, involving both vehicles and infrastructure, is clearly an area where public–private partnerships are desirable. However, members also observed that FHWA should consider extending the partnerships to other sectors, such as telecommunications, and to other modes, particularly the transit industry—for instance, to better integrate transit, highways, and the new shared mobility services. They also pointed out that human factor issues should have a prominent role in the research program, including driver acceptance and driver behavior in traffic when there is a mixture of connected, automated, and unconnected and non-automated vehicles. The implication of connected and automated vehicles on highway system maintenance requirements—and the practicality of meeting those requirements—is another possible area for FHWA to research. GENERAL ADVICE AND NEXT STEPS Several issues were considered during the summer meeting that carry over from past meetings. Foremost among them is FHWA’s interest in ensuring that its research agenda is strategic. Associate Administrator Kalla asked RTCC members to comment on the strategic planning initiatives described by his leadership team and to offer additional ideas on ways to ensure that FHWA research has a strategic purpose. In this regard, the two strategic planning techniques described to the committee,

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Research and Technology Coordinating Committee Letter Report: November 9, 2018 Get This Book
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A November 9, 2018 report from TRB's Research and Technology Coordinating Committee (RTCC) to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides the committee’s reaction to the methods used by the Office of Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) for ensuring strategic research, evaluating the impact of its research projects, and developing and leveraging research and technology partnerships. The report also describes the agency’s Exploratory Advanced Research program, research on rural highway and freight-related topics, and partnerships on automated and connected vehicles.

The RTCC’s charge is to monitor and review FHWA’s research and technology activities and to provide strategic, policy-level advice on topical priorities, processes, and strategies to accelerate the adoption of innovation. In this capacity, it advises the agency on setting a research agenda and coordinating highway research with states, universities, and other partners; strategies to accelerate the deployment and adoption of innovation; and areas where more research may be needed.

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