STRATEGIC PRIORITIES TO GET KENTUCKY CAV READY
KYTC’s Strategy for Connected & Automated Vehicles describes how the agency plans to achieve CAV readiness. Short-term objectives the Cabinet will pursue to fulfill this goal are listed below. Consult the full strategic vision for more details.
KYTC staff will keep abreast of advances in CAV technologies, the status of pilot projects, and national trends in how public and private stakeholders are resolving challenges posed by emerging vehicle technologies. Doing so will help the Cabinet craft policies that keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies and are consistent with policies being adopted elsewhere.
EXPANDING TO OTHER AGENCIES & ADDITIONAL EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS
The Cabinet formed an internal stakeholder group in 2018 whose goal is to develop a CAV strategy. Group stakeholders continue to meet and make CAV-related recommendations to KYTC leadership. A critical next step is establishing a CAV Advisory Council that brings together agencies throughout the Kentucky state government to develop harmonized approach to CAV issues. Council members will oversee work within their respective agencies and provide regular updates on progress and planned activities. The Council should focus on topics such as cross-agency coordination and workforce training (e.g., helping public and private sector become proficient in workflows relevant to CAVs).
WORKING TOWARD INTERSTATE REGULATORY CONSISTENCY
The Cabinet will partner with other state transportation agencies and organizations such as the GHSA, AAMVA, AAA, and the NCHRP when adopting best practices. GHSA and AAMVA have published reports that discuss how state transportation agencies can prepare for CAV testing and deployment (see references). As noted, NCHRP Project 20-102 includes 31 completed and ongoing research studies. Project findings will be a valuable source of information.
The Cabinet will also benefit from partnering or coordinating with other state transportation agencies to ensure future laws, regulations, or policies enacted in Kentucky benefit people who live in, work in, and travel through the state. Collaborating with other jurisdictions will help KYTC and the General Assembly make sound and informed policy decisions. Focal areas include registration and licensing procedures, insurance and liability laws, and highway design and maintenance protocols. Achieving regulatory consistency across the US will ensure a regulatory patchwork does not hamper the advancement of CAV testing and adoption. Kentucky-based companies that operate across state lines can also benefit from this, particularly those that plan to incorporate CAVs into their vehicle portfolios.
In addition to partnering with outside stakeholders, KYTC will look inward to ensure new CAV policies or regulations are consistent with existing statutes, policies, and plans. A potential source of assistance in this area is a report from researchers at the Kentucky Transportation Center (KTC) that reviews existing policies, regulations, and statutes to identify possible barriers to AV testing (Gibson et al. 2017). Introducing new policies or regulations that clash with or contradict long-standing policies will frustrate the testing and deployment of emerging vehicle technologies. During planning and policymaking, it is critical for the Cabinet to consult all relevant stakeholders. Additionally, research conducted by the University of Louisville on driver acceptance of AVs in Kentucky can be a valuable source of information for policymakers.
PILOTING AN AV SHUTTLE
Research into low-speed AV shuttles is gaining speed, with numerous pilot studies launched around the US over the past 3-4 years. Most pilot studies are being conducted in downtown areas, on business or university campuses, and in residential retirement communities. Volkswagen, Local Motors, and several universities have developed fully automated shuttles and passenger vehicles capable of navigating strictly defined routes. KYTC and the state would benefit from attracting companies to test AV shuttles. KYTC will remain open to working with transit agencies and local municipalities to identify opportunities for piloting AV shuttles and brainstorm project scope(s).
IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL TESTING GROUNDS FOR CAVS
Western Kentucky University is working to forge a relationship with the Corvette Museum track so it can pursue AV testing. With three auto manufacturers along with 525 tier suppliers having major operations in Kentucky, gauging their interest in conducting CAV testing (and understanding the necessary pre-conditions for doing so) could help establish the state as a viable option for firms looking to pilot emerging transportation technologies.
LOCATE FUTURE CONNECTED CORRIDORS
KYTC’s two connected corridor pilot projects — KY 876/US 25 in Richmond and US 231 in Bowling Green — will help the agency learn about the implementation of CV technologies and how they benefit the public. Using these projects as a springboard, the Cabinet will locate other corridors most likely to benefit from installing connected technologies. Where KYTC deploys connected infrastructure, it should purchase interoperable equipment and technologies and factor in the shorter lifecycles of ITS technologies relative to the longer service lives of bridges and roadways.
WORK ZONE DATA EXCHANGE FEED
A USDOT initiative is focusing on technologies that communicate work zone data to human drivers or directly to vehicles using ADS equipment. Third party users (e.g., OEMs, navigation applications) will benefit from a common data feed that functions across jurisdictional boundaries. Better, more seamless data sharing will benefit workers and motorists, improving work zone safety. KYTC is working to publish a feed for work zones using the WZDx standard specification and is assisting in the standard development.
ASSIST LEGISLATORS & POLICYMAKERS
To craft educational materials legislators and policymakers can use to learn about CAVs, the Cabinet will lean on guidance from national organizations, such as AAMVA, GHSA, USDOT, and AASHTO. Kentucky law does not speak to AV testing, however, some companies may want legal assurances before piloting vehicles in the state. Eliminating real and perceived barriers increases the likelihood that companies will regard Kentucky as a viable testing ground for CAVs.
EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH FOR CAVS
Many people do not have a good understanding of CAVs, automation levels, ADAS, and ADS. KYTC can help people learn about these technologies through the development of educational materials and active outreach. The goal of this work is to clearly describe CAV capabilities and the responsibilities of human drivers. Guidance from PAVE and other organizations will be used to produce compelling yet informative educational material and develop strong outreach. These efforts will go a long way toward ensuring safe transportation network operations as mixed vehicle fleets become the norm.
ASSIST LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WITH CAV INITIATIVES
Some cities, counties, MPOs, and other localities may wish to pursue their own CAV initiatives. For communities interested in doing so, the Cabinet will provide guidance and resources. The Louisville Metro Government offers a good example of a local government working proactively to understand the major changes AVs will bring to the city’s transportation system. Its Autonomous Vehicle Playbook lays out five principles for integrating considerations about AVs into future infrastructure planning and development. KYTC can assist local governments by facilitating dialogue, peer exchanges, and other meetings.
AMPLIFYING THE POSITIVE IMPACTS OF CAVS THROUGH PLANNING & COLLABORATION
KYTC needs to develop strategies focused on amplifying the positive impacts of CAVs. Many unknowns remain about how CAVs will influence the planning, operation, and construction of transportation networks. Nonetheless, the Cabinet can take steps to be proactive. These include:
• Updating KYTC’s long-range planning to account CAV impacts
• Using scenario planning as other states have to preserve adaptability and maintain responsiveness to technological developments
• Keeping track of advances in cooperative vehicle highway systems (e.g., the FHWA’s CARMASM Program), which can improve decision making about projects and enhance system operations and incident response
Kentucky has a solid track record of leveraging emerging technologies to improve road operations. In addition to the AID demonstration project and truck platooning legislation, KYTC has adopted forward-thinking policies related to the acquisition and provision of real-time traffic data. Since 2014 the Cabinet has partnered with Waze to supply real-time traffic data to motorists through Waze for Cities. KYTC also licenses historical and real-time speed data from HERE. These data are critical for developing congestion measures and prioritizing congestion projects. Data from Waze and HERE appear on GoKY, where users can view continuously updated web maps with statewide traffic conditions. For over 20 years KYTC has been a leader in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), garnering awards and recognition from organizations such as AASHTO.
KYTC has an important role to play in bringing CAV technologies to Kentucky’s roadways. Given the Cabinet’s exemplary history of putting novel technologies to work, the agency is confident it can integrate the next generation of breakthroughs into the planning, development, operations, and maintenance of roads and bridges. In so doing, the Cabinet will build a safe, efficient, environmentally sound and fiscally responsible transportation system that delivers economic opportunity and quality of life for Kentuckians.