March 1, 2021
In February, ITS America launched six new standing advisory committees to delve into some of the biggest topics in intelligent transportation: V2X and connected transportation; smart infrastructure; emerging technologies; sustainability and resiliency; automated vehicles; and mobility on demand. The committees established around these topic areas met for the first time throughout February to kick off the year and the new committee structure. Here are the six key takeaways from the standing committee kick-offs:
The Smart Infrastructure Standing Committee announced the formation of three task forces that will begin meeting this month: the COVID-19 Relief and Infrastructure Stimulus Task Force, the Broadband Deployment Task Force, and the FAST Act Reauthorization Task Force.
The COVID-19 Relief and Infrastructure Stimulus Task Force will focus on opportunities to increase technology deployment in an infrastructure stimulus as well as continue our advocacy for flexible emergency funding to offset the loss in revenues for public transit, public authorities, state departments of transportation, and the suballocation of emergency assistance to city and county transportation agencies. The pandemic continues to take an unprecedented toll on transportation across the country, and there is still a need for more assistance to keep the nation’s transportation system moving safely.
The Broadband Deployment Task Force is developing broadband policy for FAST Act reauthorization to support the 21st century connected, automated, shared, on-demand, and electrified transportation system. The task force’s programmatic activities focus on ITS and edge device data to aid in the increase of safety and mobility and be the infrastructure pillar to bridge the rural and urban digital divide and advance public safety efforts.
And finally, the FAST Act Reauthorization Task Force will build on ITS America’s platform and recommendations for the FAST Act reauthorization, Moving People, Data, and Freight: Safer, Greener, Smarter to determine if anything needs to be added and continue to make our voices heard on Capitol Hill and with the Biden Administration.
Prior to meeting, the Emerging Technology Standing Committee sent a survey to committee members to learn more about what topics are top-of-mind. Emerging technologies are a broad category, so understanding the most urgent areas with which to move forward is critical to success. The committee identified three topics as being the highest priorities: Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs); urban air mobility/eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing); and digital twinning.
PDDs have quickly gained attention as companies like Amazon and FedEx are deploying them on city streets across the country. The committee will form a task force to delve into the topic with the goal of developing a report to answer some the most pressing questions.
Urban air mobility and digital twinning are also new and exciting topics that the committee will tackle. Urban air mobility is starting to be a larger topic of conversation at the local and national levels and has big implications for both freight and passenger applications. Digital twinning allows modeling of complex systems for testing various scenarios and providing feedback into the system to enhance design or operations. It is a new topic but one that the committee will tease out and address this year.
V2X and Connected Transportation
In 2020, the V2X Task Force developed four key principles to guide ITS America’s work around V2X. The newly formed committee is now working to expand and revise the principles to ensure relevancy and completeness. The members working on V2X have been navigating the challenges of the threat of reduced spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and working to ensure V2X technology can be more widely deployed to save lives. The new principles under development will help shape the committee’s work and the future of V2X technology deployment.
The Automated Vehicles Standing Committee announced a series of sector-level calls in the latter half of February to help answer some of the big questions around AV deployment. The committee chairs hosted calls with members across sectors – cities and states, automakers, tech companies, and others – to learn about their needs and help shape the committee’s policy and programmatic focus areas.
The committee will use the calls to help shape ITS America policy on AVs, inform areas where thought leadership can help chart a path forward, and reveal where more research and discussions are needed in the coming months.
Sustainability and Resiliency
The Sustainability and Resiliency Committee announced the formation of a working group on Road Usage Charge (RUC) systems. As electric vehicles have become more popular and combustion engine vehicles have gained fuel efficiency, gas tax revenues have been reduced. Many states and localities are trying to figure out how to collect funds efficiently, effectively, and fairly for infrastructure upkeep from road users and RUC has become a popular topic of conversation. The task force will delve into the questions around RUC development and deployment and will work closely with the Smart Infrastructure Standing Committee as well as interested members from across the committees.
The committee will also update and expand on ITS America’s policy related to sustainability and resiliency, an effort that will be focused on advancing new policy within the next several months.
Mobility on Demand
The Mobility on Demand (MOD) Committee kicked off last, but certainly not least. It jumped into a policy discussion focused on proposed technical changes and language edits for the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) that will continue in the coming weeks. The committee also discussed focus areas for this year, including addressing barriers to MOD, looking at the role of public-private partnerships, and thinking about reimagining transit in the context of MOD growth. The committee will continue to discuss other topics to add to the list in the coming weeks, so we urge members with an interest in MOD to join us!
February was an exciting month at ITS America. The committees hit the ground running and are just getting started. Stay tuned as they continue to work on exciting and timely topics this year!
If you have questions about the committees or are interested in learning how to get involved, please email Brenna Rivett at firstname.lastname@example.org.