Automated vehicles are those in which at least some aspect of a safety-critical control function—such as steering, throttle, or braking—occurs without direct input from the driver. Automation has the potential to transform safety, mobility, energy, and environmental efficiency, as well as to increase productivity and facilitate freight movement within the nation’s transportation system. The ITS JPO’s automation research is a major component of the U.S. DOT’s vision of supporting the safe, reliable, efficient, and cost-effective integration of automation into the broader, multimodal transportation system.
The U.S. DOT recognizes that public and private sectors must work in partnership to improve the safety, security, and accessibility of automation technologies and address the concerns of the general public. ITS JPO’s role in this joint effort is to facilitate multimodal automation research and collaboration in safety, infrastructure interoperability, and policy analysis.
Activities will improve understanding of safe automated vehicle operations and generate actionable data and decision support results for the broader stakeholder community. Human factors research, such as simulator or naturalistic driving studies, is fundamental to safety. The ITS JPO will partner with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to support this research. Together, we will continue to study automated vehicle safety issues related to transportation system management and operation, highway infrastructure, and vehicles.
Infrastructure and Interoperability
Activities will support the safe interaction of automated vehicles among themselves, with other road users, and with highway infrastructure. The ITS JPO will partner with FHWA, FMCSA, the Maritime Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration to develop and test cooperative driving automation (CDA). CDA enables the machine-to-machine sharing of information that will allow roadway and port infrastructure users (e.g., vehicles, traffic signals, and mobile devices) to operate more efficiently and safely with a goal of improving transportation system performance and potentially reducing the costs of new construction by maximizing current infrastructure capacity limited today by human drivers. This program will support expanded stakeholder collaboration activities to develop and implement industry standards for CDA.
Activities will assess the impacts of automated vehicles on the general public and identify and evaluate critical issues related to automated vehicle adoption. Automated vehicle technology development continues to advance at a rapid pace, requiring a nimble and coordinated approach to policy development. The ITS JPO will lead Departmental research efforts in system dynamics (SD), which allows analysts to use simple causal interactions within a complex system to build a model that can demonstrate and quantify not-so-evident dynamic behavior. SD models are part of the strategic modeling toolbox, as they are aggregate, fast models that can provide essential insights for other strategic planning models. The ITS JPO will partner with FHWA and FMCSA to collect field data on CDA and other automated vehicle operations to improve ongoing analysis, modeling, and simulation development.
Please explore this site for a more detailed description of the program and progress. We will continue to upload relevant program information for public consumption as it becomes available. For inquiries regarding the program, please contact the USDOT Point of Contact below.
Program Manager, Vehicle Safety and Automation
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
ITS Joint Program Office