Automated and Connected Vehicles

RELATED TOPICS: Equity, Design and Engineering Guidance, University Curriculum and Courses

While it may still be years before fully autonomous vehicles are widely available, new technologies are allowing private, public, and commercial vehicles to perform more driving tasks independently and send and receive information about their surroundings. Meanwhile, researchers are testing increasingly automated vehicles in both controlled and real-world environments. As communities examine the role of these connected and automated vehicles in serving their transportation needs, there are opportunities to simultaneously advance pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility. The PBIC Discussion Guide for Automated and Connected Vehicles, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists presents ten key challenge areas (and implications for policy and research) that need to be at the center of automated vehicle discussions across all sectors and stakeholders, along with a glossary of important terms and key references. Many states have established AV committees or working groups and may need representation on pedestrian or bicycle topics. The Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) AV Working Group serves as a focal point for MPOs to engage with USDOT on connected and automated vehicle programs, policies, and issues. The links on this page showcase a variety of organizations and resources for policy tracking and decision-making.


Planning for Walking and Cycling in an Autonomous-Vehicle Future explores how connected and automated vehicles may affect pedestrian and bicyclist safety as well as local infrastructure and land use decisions, according to U.S. experts from academia, public, and private sectors.

Vulnerable Road Users and the Coming Wave of Automated Vehicles: Expert Perspectives presents findings from interviews with 16 human factors experts about the considerations for autonomous vehicle interaction with vulnerable road users in urban environments. Interviewees provided their perspectives on external human-machine interfaces (i.e., outward devices that AVs use to communicate with human road users), the role of smart infrastructure, and the need for physical separation of AVs and vulnerable road users.

Automated Vehicles and Pedestrian Safety: Exploring the Promise and Limits of Pedestrian Detection analyzes nearly 5,000 pedestrian fatalities and virtually reconstructs scenarios to model how sensor technology, like the kind currently being tested on automated vehicles, would or would not have changed the outcomes. The research identifies sensor costs and real world operating conditions as barriers to these potentially life-saving technologies in the near term.

A New Study Finds a Potential Risk with Self-Driving Cars: Failure to Detect Dark-Skinned Pedestrians highlights a critical equity issue in the emerging field of pedestrian detection by automated vehicles: the algorithmic biases that make AVs worse at detecting pedestrians of color.

Discussion Guide for Automated and Connected Vehicles, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists provides an overview of key terms and discussion of important opportunities and challenges for automated vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

Connected and Automated Vehicles and Safety of Vulnerable Road Users: A Systems Approach addresses critical issues related to pedestrian safety in the connected and automated vehicle era. The report provides summaries of and links to several research efforts on the topics of: research needs for AVs and walkability, potential and limitations for pedestrian detection by AVs, vehicle to pedestrian (V2P) safety strategies, and driver behavior prior to pedestrian crashes.

PBIC Automated Vehicles University Course Module Series provides a foundation and orientation for students and practitioners to learn more and join the conversation about the advancement of AVs and the safety and mobility for all road users.

Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 provides guidance for AVs and multimodal automation with strategies for integration and to address existing barriers to safety innovation. The updated version, Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0, expands on the previous guidance to coordinate and standardize the U.S. Government’s approach to connected and automated vehicles across Federal departments.

Automated Vehicles website provides information on NHTSA policy, updates on technology and innovation, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Autonomous Vehicle Information Library serves as a clearinghouse of information with resources from researchers, regulators, and the media.

Considerations for Deploying Automated Driving Systems Around Schools summarizes the challenges of automated driving systems (ADS) around K-12 schools and provides ten recommendations for ADS developers and local stakeholders to consider prior to broad deployment of automated vehicles around schools.

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NHTSA's AV TEST Initiative Tracking Tool shows real-time information about automated vehicle testing on public roads, including testing location, vehicle type, and operator information.

Accessible and Barrier Free explores how universal design principles could enable connected and autonomous vehicles to serve people of all abilities by describing several potential trip scenarios.

NACTO's policy statement on automated vehicles sets forth several guiding principles for the future of transportation planning and the Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism prioritizes people walking, biking, taking transit, and being in the center of urban life while focusing on policies for efficiency and equity to help achieve city goals.

AV Legislative Database tracks state-level enacted legislation related to automated vehicles.

Automated Vehicle Principles for Healthy and Sustainable Communities from the State of California offers key principles for aligning automated vehicles with other state efforts.

Sharing Spaces with Robots: The Basics of Personal Delivery Devices clarifies terms and definitions for personal delivery devices, describes their physical and operational characteristics, and provides an overview of key policy and research areas affecting their deployment with an emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists.

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