Momentum: Issue #27

September 3, 2019


At ITS America, our task forces play a critical role in helping educate and advocate on issues important to the association and the broader transportation technology community. Given that many of ITS America’s priority issues are currently front and center in Washington, DC, 2019 has been a very busy and productive year for the task forces. 

Smart Infrastructure Task Force

Following very productive months earlier this year, the Smart Infrastructure Task Force in May approved and submitted to the ITS America Board of Directors its FAST Act reauthorization policy platform to: safeguard critical transportation infrastructure from cybersecurity threats; buildout alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure; establish a Mobility-on-Demand program; back renewable systems for transportation use; buildout broadband to support intelligent mobility; and support port technology freight investments. The policy also makes clear that preserving the 5.9 GHz spectrum for Vehicle-to-X Communications (V2X), increased funding and federal match for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), eligibility of vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and increasing investment in research are high priorities for the association. The Board approved the platform at its June meeting.

In developing the policy, the task force engaged with the Senate Committees on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Environment and Public Works and House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Science, Space, and Technology. The task force, co-chaired by John Barton of HNTB and Tina Quigley of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, includes more than 40 members representing the strength of ITS America: states, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, automakers, technology companies, research universities, and engineering, construction, and technical services firms.

Vehicle-to-X Communications Task Force

Throughout a very active year on the connected vehicle front – and coming on the heels of a similarly busy 4th quarter of 2018 – the V2X Task Force has been instrumental in providing valuable input to ITS America.  With that input, the association has made numerous filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), all of which reiterate ITS America’s strong support for preserving the 5.9GHz band for transportation safety critical communications.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, in a speech this spring, signaled his intention to open the 5.9GHz band to unlicensed users. In anticipation that the FCC will issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) very soon, the association continues to be a leading voice on this critical issue and has alerted the task force, co-chaired by John Kenney of Toyota and John Hibbard of the Georgia Department of Transportation, of its intention to respond.

Automated Vehicle Task Force

Following recent news that the House and Senate are working together to develop a self-driving car bill, ITS America has reconstituted the Automated Vehicle Task Force, which it formed in 2017 in response to legislation introduced that year.

Similar to the process the Smart Infrastructure Task Force followed, the Automated Vehicle Task Force will draft policy recommendations in the coming weeks and submit those recommendations to the Board at its December meeting. Because of the tight timeline, the task force – co-chaired by Malcolm Dougherty of Michael Baker (and ITS America Board Chair) and Stan Caldwell of Carnegie Mellon University – has divided its work into five subcommittees: federal, state and local roles; exemptions; cybersecurity and privacy; safety evaluation reports and rulemaking; and resources for NHTSA. 

Cybersecurity and Privacy Task Force

This year, ITS America reorganized its Cybersecurity and Privacy Task Force, which continues to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks faced by those developing, operating, or managing intelligent mobility technologies on our nation’s roads. Lead by Task Force Co-Chairs Suzanne Murtha of AECOM and Nick Roethal of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, members circulate cybersecurity best practices for both the public and private sectors, promoting readiness and resiliency in the face of emerging cyber threats.

Over the summer, the task force convened an Executive Forum on “Securing the Transportation Network,” which brought together a wide range of cybersecurity experts to discuss solutions to challenges facing transportation agencies and the industry overall. In the coming months, it plans to produce a range of materials outlining potential solutions to the challenges facing an increasingly connected network, including cybersecurity workforce development and identifying areas for increased cybersecurity funding.

All ITS America task forces are open to Advocacy Trust members, and Professional Trust members by invitation. If you’d like to learn more about the task forces, please contact Bobby McCurdy


Name: Jennifer Cohan
Title: Cabinet Secretary
Company:  Delaware DOT

Current or previous ITS Project:  We are working on the deployment of fully autonomous shuttles. We put forth a Request for Proposal and awarded a contract to a company called EasyMile.  We will be deploying two shuttles later this year onto our road system.  The plan is to deploy in real live scenarios to learn how the technology interacts with the built environment, other vehicles and other modes of transportation.  We are also working on our vehicle to infrastructure environment.  We are utilizing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software tool to begin implementation with the intent to detect traffic anomalies, send warnings, find solutions, and predict impacts for future events utilizing AI, machine learning, and decision support systems. 

Accomplishments: I think one of the biggest success stories regarding ITS in Delaware is our mobile app.  It has real-time traffic information, travel times, snow plow tracking, access to our infrastructure cameras, public transit information, car charging stations and much more.  It has been proven to be very popular not only to Delawareans but to anyone traveling on our roadways. 

What’s the future of #ITS look like to you? The future of ITS is aimed directly at the convergence of technology and traditional transportation. It is the integration of vehicle to everything and is connected and autonomous.  Most importantly it is safer – try to imagine a world where every vehicle obeys the rules of the road!

Hobbies: Drinking wine

Family: Yes, but try to avoid them! 🙂

Favorite place to travel: St. Lucia 

Most Unusual Job you have ever had before current position: Quality and assurance testing canned soup

If you could switch jobs in your company, who would you switch with and why?: Wally the Work Zone Warrior, because everyone loves him. 

First car you drove?: Chevy Camaro

Karaoke Song: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”

Hidden Talent: I can tie a cherry stem in my mouth

If you weren’t working in Transportation industry you would: Teach