AASHTO offers recommendations for NHTSA Automated Driving System framework

April 12, 2021

AASHTO believes the transportation industry must use every tool to connect vehicles with each other and infrastructure

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently sent a five-page letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outlining recommendations for the agency’s Automated Driving System Safety Framework

AASHTO noted in its letter that, “there is great potential that connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) will improve safety, enhancing mobility, and reducing the environmental impact of surface transportation system.”

The association added that “safety has been, and will remain, at the forefront of AASHTO’s policy goals, as state DOTs have the primary responsibility for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods on our nation’s highways and streets.”

AASHTO stressed several policy points in its letter regarding Automated Driving Systems (ADS), including:

  • The need to maintain current federal and non-federal authorities concerning motor vehicle performance.
  • Ensuring that the federal government maintains a “strong role” in facilitating the deployment of CAVs
  • That states and local governments must retain the authority not only to enforce but also to originate and establish laws and regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles on a public road.
  • The states do not have the authority or expertise to evaluate the safety of these test vehicles, which can lead to discomfort with or outright opposition to testing and deployment of ADS-equipped vehicles. Thus, NHTSA must take a more proactive role in facilitating the deployment of automated vehicles.
  • As infrastructure owners and operators, state DOTs believe that establishing a strong foundation for ADS requires ensuring robust connectedness for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.

AASHTO also said it believes the transportation industry must use every tool—including Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) to connect vehicles with each other and the infrastructure—to make vehicles, highways, and roads safer. “The national strategy must focus attention on developing the digital highway infrastructure needed to make the deployment of automation technologies ubiquitous in the United States,” the association said.



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