Linda Bailey, Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.
NACTO applauds the Department of Transportation for offering guidance that puts safety at the forefront of Highly Automated Vehicle (HAV) manufacturing and testing, and urges USDOT to work closely with cities on the particular needs of a complex urban street environment under automation.
We further urge that final guidance and rule-making be based heavily on urban streets, where people walking, parking, biking, and making deliveries create a complex environment for driving. In that light, NACTO also supports USDOT’s proposal for an amendment to the existing Vehicle Safety Act in order to better test vehicles in variable environments resembling today’s city streets.
NACTO strongly supports USDOT’s overall emphasis on highly automated vehicles in its guidance. In its policy statement released earlier this year, NACTO members made clear that partial automation should not be permitted in complex urban traffic environments, where even momentary inattention can be fatal for bystanders. NACTO also urges USDOT to consider a maximum operating speed of 25 miles per hour on city streets for automated vehicles, mitigating the likelihood of injuries and fatalities.
While implications of automation for overall city transportation policy goals were not the focus of the guidance released today, NACTO urges USDOT to continue to work closely with cities. With the right policies, automation offers opportunities for our communities: optimizing the space we dedicate to vehicles, upgrading our public transportation, making our streets safer for people walking, biking, and driving, and reducing the environmental impacts of transportation.
September 20, 2016