Dialogue is the Path to Success

I’m happy to report that Steve Kuciemba is back with another guest blog post. Steve Kuciemba is the National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Practice Leader for WSP USA.  

The other day I was asked by a public agency client about preparing for the connected & automated vehicle (CAV) revolution.  The question was simple: if you could give 3 pieces of advice what would they be?  Here’s what I told them:

#1 – Expect a Long Transition – we’re not going to wake up one morning and all vehicles will be self-driving, there is going to be a considerable transition period where vehicles operated by computers will coexist alongside vehicles driven by humans.  It could be a period of many years, the mix of vehicle automation could vary by time, location, and technology, and the policy issues will run deep and require time to mature.  This will present a number of safety and mobility challenges, and in the coming years the transportation and technology industries will wrestle with them.

#2 – Be Patient/Flexible – a recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association provided some valuable guidance including a 5-point recommendation to (a) be informed, (b) be a player in your state, (c) understand the role of states, (d) don’t rush into passing laws or establishing regulations, and (e) be flexible – this is a new game.  Those five simple points summarize the state of this fast-moving industry and are great advice for anyone looking to understand the role of state and local governments in CAV.

#3 – Be Ready to Dialogue – when companies begin to discuss testing CAV technology and vehicles in your state or city, everyone should be ready to talk.  You can come up with guidelines, you can make check-lists, you can discuss requirements – but at the end of the day there will be a LOT of unique situations requiring simple communication and conversation.   

This last point is critical.  I’ve talked with a number of State DOT’s and Motor Vehicle Administrations about CAV testing on their roadways, and it’s very tempting to immediately dive into drafting rigorous guidelines and legislative requirements.  Let’s welcome this revolution by first encouraging conversation.  Talk through the issues, discuss the safety implications, and agree to communicate continually as the testing progresses.  

Dialogue is the path to success!

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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One Response to Dialogue is the Path to Success

  1. James A Sproul says:

    If dialogue is crucial, than MA should be in good shape with a Gov Baker appointed Autonomous Vehicle Working Group and a City of Boston Mayor Walsh appointed AV cabinet committee. I just wish we had more OEM’s willing to start a public conversation before legislation is enacted and limits there opportunities to succeed.

    Like

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