National Dialogue on Highway Automation


Automated vehicles have the potential to significantly transform the nation’s roadways. They offer potential benefits in safety but also introduce uncertainty for the agencies responsible for the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the roadway infrastructure. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is initiating a national conversation with partners and stakeholders, as well as the public at-large, to receive broad input on key areas of interest and prepare FHWA programs and policies to incorporate automation considerations. This National Dialogue on Highway Automation represents a series of meetings held across the country to facilitate information sharing, identify key issues and prepare the infrastructure and the broader transportation community to safely and efficiently integrate automated vehicles into the road network. Input received during the National Dialogue will help inform FHWA research, policies, and programs and will aid in the development of a national transportation community for automation.

This National Dialogue will engage an expanded set of stakeholders, beyond FHWA’s typical stakeholders, in order to ensure that this issue has broad input. These stakeholders will include, but are not limited to, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), technology suppliers, transportation network companies (TNCs), associations, and public-sector partners.

The meetings will be held in different locations across the country, running from June 2018 through the end of 2018. These meetings will be conducted as 1 to 1.5 day events and generally include 100 to 150 participants. These meetings are meant to gather detailed input and information from stakeholders and will include significant interactive components, such as breakout discussions and listening sessions.

In addition, there will be partner sponsored listening sessions (1.5 to 2 hours) associated with partner meetings or conferences.

The objectives for the National Dialogue include the following:

  1. Listen: Gather detailed input from a broad group of stakeholders on key issues, challenges, and concerns in highway automation, such as infrastructure readiness, traffic operations, transportation planning, and other topics impacted by automation.
  2. Engage: Facilitate information sharing between industry, public agencies and others to understand the current state of automated driving systems and roadway capabilities and inform FHWA actions.
  3. Evolve: Update institutional structures for working with existing and new stakeholders. Aid in developing new partnerships and strengthening coordination channels between industry, associations, public agencies, and other key groups.
  4. Inform: Raise awareness of FHWA and USDOT activities in automation and emerging technologies. Identify opportunities for strategic partnerships between Federal activity and State, local, and industry activity.

Automation Focus Areas

  1. Planning and Policy: This focus area will explore relevant issues for the planning and policy community, such as travel demand changes from automation, land use implications, infrastructure funding, right of way use, transportation systems management and operations, automation barriers and policy, and other topics.
  2. Digital Infrastructure and Data: This focus area will center on the data requirements and needs of automated vehicles (e.g., digital work zone maps, road closures, etc.). It will explore the possibility of developing new partnerships and collaboration between public agencies and industry for data sharing and safety.
  3. Freight: This focus area will deal with truck platooning applications and automated truck freight delivery issues. It will cover possible implications on traffic patterns and operations, as well as potential infrastructure considerations.
  4. Operations: This focus area will survey the range of operations challenges from highway automation and initiate a discussion on what further research is necessary to address them. These challenges may include incident management and system inefficiency that may have implications on traffic patterns and roadway capacity.
  5. Multimodal Safety and Infrastructure Design: This focus area will address the issue of infrastructure design, maintenance, and consistency for automation. It will highlight the areas where automation technology developers and public agencies need discussion and collaboration to address where existing roadway infrastructure, road conditions, design features and environments could lead to potential safety hazards.

Upcoming Events: Getting Involved in the National Dialogue

  • June 7, 2018 – National Dialogue Launch Workshop, Detroit, Michigan
    • Select “National Dialogue Launch Workshop, Detroit, Michigan” to be redirected to ITS America’s Annual Meeting Registration Page. Select “Attendee Registration & Housing”. Choose “Registration” and complete the required information.
    • If you are not attending the full conference, select “Workshop Only (Non Member)”.
    • If you have previously registered for the ITS America Annual Meeting but would like to add the National Dialogue Launch Workshop, you can log into the ITS America registration site and modify your registration at no charge.
    • During this registration process, you will have the option of reserving a hotel if desired.
  • June 26-27, 2018 – National Workshop 1: Policy and Planning, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Register)

National Dialogue on Highway Automation Workshops: Tentative Schedule

A listing of potential dates for upcoming National Dialogue on Highway Automation workshops.
Month Event Location Focus Area
August 1-2, 2018 National Workshop 2 Seattle, Washington Digital Infrastructure and Data
Week of September 5, 2018 National Workshop 3 Chicago, Illinois Freight
October 24-25, 2018 National Workshop 4 Phoenix, Arizona Operations
Week of November 12, 2018 National Workshop 5 Austin, Texas Multimodal Safety and Infrastructure Design