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Motor Carrier Code Review – Considerations for TNC Legislation
PIs: Maarit Moran, Gretchen Stoeltje
Researchers explored the implications of motor carrier regulations, located in the Texas Transportation Code, on transportation network companies (TNCs). Current laws and exemptions in the existing code were identified and evaluated for their effect on TNC operations and state TNC policy. This policy brief is designed to inform Texas policy makers about existing statutes and regulations that may need to be considered in the development of TNC legislation.
Implementation and Effectiveness of Sound Mitigation Measures on Texas Highways (HB 790)
PI: Jason Crawford
As directed in 2015 by the 84th Texas Legislature, researchers compared highway noise guidelines in Texas with those in five other states and interviewed officials representing several toll road authorities in Texas. They also measured sound levels behind noise barriers along three toll road sections in Harris County, Dallas County, and Williamson County to compare those measures with predicted levels after noise wall construction.
Regional Operations: One Approach to Improve Traffic Signal Timing
PI: Kevin Balke
In the 2014 Texas Transportation Poll, survey participants identified more effective traffic signal timing as the highest-rated strategy for resolving regional transportation issues. One way traffic engineers optimize traffic signal performance is through coordination. This policy brief explores regional traffic signal operations programs (RTSOPs), which involve state, county, and city departments of transportation working collaboratively and cooperatively to address a region’s mobility issues on the arterial street networks.
Revolutionizing Our Roadways: Modeling the Traffic Impacts from Automated and Connected Vehicles in a Complex Congested Urban Setting
PI: Jeff Shelton
Determining the effect automated and connected vehicles could have on traffic flow would ideally require testing the vehicles themselves in a real-world environment. In the absence of large-scale, real-world testing, researchers at TTI used traffic modeling software to develop and test a vehicle mimicking the behaviors of several automated and connected vehicle applications in a congested and complex urban network.
Vehicle Telematics as a Platform for Road Use Fees
PI: Maarit Moran
Vehicle telematics (i.e., in-vehicle computer and technology equipment) will continue to improve as they are developed and installed in passenger and commercial vehicles. Such applications are likely to be standard features in a growing number of new model vehicles. There is a strong potential for these systems to be leveraged to achieve transportation-related public policy goals and, in particular, revenue generation. This research examines technologies and associated applications such as in-vehicle operating systems, GPS, on-board maps, wireless communication platforms, mobile device networking components and the various communication languages supporting these technologies to assess their potential to support future road user fee measurement and reporting.
Policy Implications of Transportation Network Companies
PI: Maarit Moran
This policy brief presents a brief introduction to transportation network companies (TNCs) and their services, a review of state-level legislation across the United States, and the municipal regulations that have been implemented in Texas in response to the introduction of TNC services, current as of the 2016 Texas Legislative Interim. This report presents the findings from the first of a multi-phased research effort to understand the policy implications of TNCs.
Disruptive Technologies and Transportation
PI: Trey Baker
Significant advances in transportation technology and the need for policy development are often triggered by sudden disruptive changes in technological capabilities. Furthermore, the continued development of the “Internet of Things” (IOT), which will ultimately connect people, processes and data into wide-scale networks, could affect how transportation services are provided in Texas. This study examines imminent disruptive communications technologies and assesses the implications of these developments on state transportation policy and associated implementation strategies.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Implications of Automated Vehicle Crash Scenarios
PI: Mohammed Poorsartep
Automated vehicle (AV) technology has sometimes been touted as the solution to eliminating crashes, more than 90 percent of which are due to human errors, but such claims are not supported by any empirical data or scientific evidence. Still, experts do believe that overall frequency and severity of crashes could be reduced by implementing more AV technologies, while acknowledging the intricacies and nuances that are involved in this process. This project explores possible policy questions under crash scenarios involving AVs, addresses AV crash issues that may affect current Texas law, and offers related considerations for policy makers.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Consumer Acceptance and Travel Behavior Impacts of Automated Vehicles
PI: Johanna Zmud
This study provides a glimpse into the not-too-distant future by asking people in the general population how they would respond to the availability of self-driving vehicles, which might be on Texas roadways within a few years. Some elements of the technology are already available in vehicles today. Self-parking, adaptive cruise control, and automated braking are all available currently. In the near future, vehicles might take over driving completely. Insights from this research are drawn from results of an online survey and in-person interviews with Austin, Texas area residents in May and June 2015.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Data Privacy Considerations for Automated and Connected Vehicles
PI: Karlyn Stanley, Jason Wagner
The 2015 Texas legislative session highlighted Texas policy makers’ concerns about protecting citizens’ personally identifiable information (PII). Texas legislators introduced seven measures that addressed the protection of PII, including protection of the data privacy of certain populations (e.g., juveniles) and protection of citizens’ data privacy in specific circumstances (e.g., the use of location data in search warrants). These disparate measures reflect the current body of law and regulation concerning PII and data privacy—both in Texas and nationally—which is segmented into legal protections governing specific types of data. The focus of this report is on data privacy in the context of transportation, not data privacy generally.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Liability Considerations for Automated and Connected Vehicles
PI: Gretchen Stoeltje, Jason Wagner
Manufacturers of automated vehicles (AVs) and connected vehicles (CVs) are rapidly developing technologies with the potential to disrupt the U.S. transportation system. AVs use a variety of sensors, computers, and electronic controls to take over a portion or all of the responsibility for driving. Similarly, CVs use radio communications hardware, specially developed applications, and onboard vehicular displays to warn drivers about impending dangerous situations. CVs will ultimately result in a dense network of vehicles, all communicating with each other and the infrastructure to improve safety, mobility, and environmental outcomes. CVs do not actually take over the task of driving in any way but instead send information to the vehicular operator (either human or automated), who then decides how to respond to the information. The liability implications for AVs and CVs are unique and are discussed in this brief.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Cybersecurity Considerations for Connected and Automated Vehicle Policy
PI: Dominie Garcia, Jason Wagner
Automated and connected vehicles involve rapidly developing technologies, with the potential to disrupt the United States transportation system. These technologies could provide many benefits, but there are still many issues that must be resolved before the vehicles can be implemented. Cybersecurity is one of those issues. Cybersecurity protections for automated and connected vehicle systems are not fully developed or completely understood. This undeveloped state presents an opportunity for state governments to become familiar with these systems as they develop, and refine state cybersecurity policies and oversight to meet the needs of future vehicle technologies.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: Policy Considerations for Automated VehicleTesting in Texas
PI: Jason Wagner
Automated vehicles promise many societal benefits, but a multitude of technical and policy issues must be resolved before society can reap these rewards. To address some of these issues, several states have already adopted policies and regulations overseeing automated vehicle testing and operations. To help state leaders in Texas understand the tradeoffs and concerns surrounding different policy options, this report reviews the measures other states have taken, and also reviews recommendations from both the automated vehicle industry and the federal government. In addition, the report addresses how different approaches could affect salient policy considerations like safety, cost, and regulatory consistency and intensity.
New Approaches to Transportation Management
PI: Beverly Kuhn
The research addressed next-generation strategies for transportation management which can help increase system efficiency and manage congestion more effectively.
Strategies include advanced traveler information, dynamic speed limits, dynamic lane use control/dynamic shoulder lanes, dynamic junction control, and integrated corridor management. The study also highlighted potential technology and policy implications related to these strategies that can contribute to their successful use in Texas.
View the Project Video
NEWS: Researchers examine potential use of variable speed limits in Texas
Automated Vehicles: Policy Implications Scoping Study
PI: Ginger Goodin
Automated vehicles offer the potential to dramatically change and disrupt the American transportation system, and they may also offer significant benefits. This study sought to understand how automated vehicles can alter the transportation system, identify implications for state and local transportation providers, determine future research needs, and understand emerging policy issues.
Revolutionizing our Roadways: The Challenges and Benefits of Making Automated Vehicles a Reality
PI: Ginger Goodin
This primer offers a condensed and illustrated version of the Policy Implications Scoping Study. The information is presented with a policy audience in mind, including an overview of automated vehicles, insights from both government personnel and industry representatives, and an examination of the benefits and challenges associated with automated vehicles. The handbook also address questions related to regulation at both the state and national levels.
How TNCs are Changing the Market for Transportation with On-Demand Mobility
TNCs are among a growing suite of multimodal, on-demand services using new technology to supply innovative and convenient travel options in urban markets. These services raise questions about changing traveler preferences, effects on public transit, disruption to existing regulatory structures, availability of service to people with disabilities, potential abuse of travelers’ personally identifiable information, and broad social and economic impacts. This project will review current and projected TNC services across Texas and the US and examine the impact that on-demand services may have on service reliability, congestion, safety, impaired driving, and transportation network efficiency. Results will inform state policy makers of implications for transportation policy in Texas.
Discover what legislation states have passed to address TNCs
Research in Progress
AV/CV Texas Statutory Review
PI: Gretchen Stoeltje
Automated and connected vehicles (AVs/CVs) are poised to disrupt the transportation system. The existing statutory framework for vehicle regulation was built around the concept of a human driver, which raises questions regarding the adequacy of existing statutes to accommodate the technologies that are rapidly appearing on Texas highways. A TTI research team will review Texas laws to identify areas of statute that may have a bearing on the operation of AVs/CVs on Texas roads. The research will result in a report identifying possible gaps and ambiguities in relevant areas of statute.
Exploring Blockchain: The Technology Behind Bitcoin and Its Implications for Transforming Transportation
PI: Rajat Rajbhandari
Blockchain (aka distributed ledger) technology has the capacity to deliver a new kind of trust to a wide range of government services. This project will explain blockchain technology (which can seem complex at first) and evaluate its potential impact on vertical transportation markets and transportation policy. The project will also document current applications of blockchain technology in transportation. Stakeholders include legislators formulating transportation policies, transportation innovators, blockchain entrepreneurs and investors.
Testimony to the Texas Legislature
Transportation network companies
Ginger Goodin and Maarit Moran, March 14, 2017
Download the Testimony
Right-angle crashes at signalized intersections
Ginger Goodin and Robert Wunderlich, March 8, 2017
Download the Testimony
The intersection of transportation policy and innovative technology
Ginger Goodin and Greg Winfree, March 2, 2017
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Transportation network companies
Ginger Goodin and Maarit Moran, August 30, 2016
Download the Testimony
Regulation of autonomous vehicles
Ginger Goodin, December 7, 2016
Download the Testimony
Implications of Automated Vehicle Crash Scenarios
Presentation by Mohammad Poorsartep at the 2016 Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) Conference, September 26-28 in San Antonio, Texas. | Download presentation
Automated Vehicles: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology
Presentation by Karlyn Stanley at the Conference Board of Canada Conference (April 2016, Toronto, ON) | Download presentation
Automated Vehicles and Public Policy: State and Local Perspectives
Presentation by Ginger Goodin at the 2015 Transportation Research Board Meeting (revised: January 2015, Washington, D.C.) | Download presentation
Presentation by Ginger Goodin at the 2014 Automated Vehicles Symposium, hosted by TRB and AUVSI (July 16, 2014, San Francisco) | Download presentation
Beverly T. Kuhn, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Beverly Kuhn has more than 24 years of diverse and extensive experience in the conduct of operations-related research. She serves as head of the System Reliability Division of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Her areas of research expertise include active transportation and demand management, active traffic management, managed lanes, traffic operations, ITS, human factors and safety, and traffic control devices and sign visibility. She is considered a leader in the area of active transportation and demand management (ATDM) and is currently involved in numerous projects for FHWA and NCHRP on topics related to ATDM. She has also led groundbreaking and comprehensive research in the area of managed lanes, which is considered the premiere guidance on special use lanes and their operations and performance. She has been involved in numerous efforts for state departments of transportation and FHWA related to active traffic management strategies for freeway corridors. She currently serves as secretary of the TRB Committee on Freeway Operations, chair of the TRB Joint Subcommittee on Active Traffic Management, and chair of the TRB Section on Users Performance.
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