ITS America’s Top Line Comments on USDOT’s NETT Council 

Last week, ITS America submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology Council, better known as the NETT Council. We recognize the council plays a significant role in realizing and advancing the research, development, and deployment of new mobility technologies and innovations to help us realize the benefits of future mobility. These benefits can save lives, promote sustainability, advance equity, seamlessly integrate our system, promote economic prosperity, and advance a more efficient, world-class transportation system. 

We were truly excited to submit our comments, because the NETT Council has the potential to serve as a guiding body that truly helps us realize the future of our nation’s transportation system, provided it better defines the concept of emerging technologies in an expansive way, engages with a diverse group of transportation stakeholders and decision-makers, and provides ample opportunity for the public to weigh in on these critical issues. 

Here are a few top-line takeaways from our comments – though we hope you’ll take time to read them in full! 

The NETT Council should: 

• develop a working definition of emerging technologies that seeks to be expansive and comprehensive in the way it defines emerging technologies; 

• serve as a single point of leadership for DOT to oversee innovation-related programs and efforts and advancing technologies; 

• create clear performance indicators to measure progress and success; 

• take a system of systems approach to understand how emerging technologies fit into the larger ecosystem of transportation; 

• embrace transparency in its operations and expand to include more members in an advisory capacity; 

• broaden stakeholder outreach and ensure there is a diverse cadre of voices invited to these conversations, including women, people of color, diverse sector researchers, and other innovators to ensure the emerging technologies developed and deployed consider organizations, innovations, and individuals beyond DOT’s traditional stakeholder network; 

• emphasize safety-oriented technologies and innovations, sustainability-oriented technologies, freight-related technologies, innovative infrastructure technologies, and personal mobility technologies; and 

• incorporate this work into USDOT’s Innovation Principles and develop clear metrics for how the Innovation Principles will be incorporated and measured across DOT and modal programs, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments and discretionary grant programs.