Transit agencies need to look at autonomous technologies, researchers say

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Transit authorities need to consider how autonomous vehicle technologies will affect public transportation operations and workforces, says a briefing from Traffic21, a transportation research institute at Carnegie Mellon University. .

Technology is unlikely to replace workers behind the wheel in the near future. Still, managers and policymakers should consider the safety of integrating automation technologies into fleets and training operators to work effectively with these systems, Traffic21 said.

“Autonomous driving tools such as pedestrian warnings and lane centering have the potential to improve transit operator safety and workload, but only if these technologies are properly integrated,” Sarah Fox, an assistant professor at the Institute for Human-Computer Interaction and a Mobility21 University Transportation Center researcher, said. “Automation can create new types of security issues and can intensify work. Transit authorities need to consider the potential for changes now.

The file, How to give meaning to the automation of public transport by bus? Considerations for Policymakers on the Future of the Human Automation Team in the Transit Workforce, describes public transportation automation, discusses challenges and benefits, and offers policy recommendations for federal officials .

Several autonomous transit pilot projects have tested the feasibility of driverless transportation, but transit buses and vans will likely continue to need human operators.

Melvin Z. Madore