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Publication Number: N/A
Date: August 2012


Driverless Cars in 2022: A Follow-on Session to The Driverless Car Summit

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Traffic on a highway

Michael F. Trentacoste

Associate Administrator for Research and Advanced Technology

Federal Highway Administration

6 August 2012

The Transportation Problem


  • 32,788 highway deaths in 2010
  • 6,000,000 crashes/year



  • 4,200,000,000 hours of travel delay
  • $80,000,000,000 cost of urban congestion



  • 2,900,000,000 gallons wasted fuel
CO2 Culprits pie chart: power plants 33%, cars and trucks 22%, major transportation 12%, factories, home heating systems 33%

But, A Big Problem is……

The Driver!

  • Causes over 90% of crashes
  • Has very poor awareness of traffic:
    • Near – Surrounding cars, trucks, buses
    • Mid – A mile down the road
    • Far - Regional

The Role of the US Department of Transportation

  • Develop policies and programs that contribute to transportation that is:
    • Safe
    • Fast
    • Efficient
    • Convenient

Automation As The Solution

Automation: The use of electronic or mechanical devices to replace human labor

Recent Discussion Framework*

Chart showing vertical degree of automation and horizontal degree of cooperation for autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles.  Full automation, control assistance, warning

* Adapted from Shladover, UC PATH (Presentation at TRB Automation Workshop, July 25-26, 2012

Challenges to Deployment of Automation*

  • Public Policy
  • Driver-Vehicle Interaction
  • Information Architecture and Operational Concepts
  • Technology Needs and Constraints
  • Transition and Deployment Strategies
  • Legal, Liability, and Risk
  • Vehicle Safety and Security

* From TRB Workshop, July 25-26, 2012

ITS Research Program Components





V2V V2I Safety
Real Time Data
Capture &
Harmonization of International Standards & Architecture
Human Factors
Systems Engineering
Test Environments
Deployment Scenarios
Financing & Investment Models
Operations & Governance
Institutional Issues


Events Since Driverless Car Summit

  • FHWA Exploratory Advanced Research Workshop (July 24, 2012):  “Early Automation Deployment Opportunities in Managed Lane Operations”
  • Transportation Research Board Joint Committee Workshop (July 25-26, 2012): “Road Vehicle Automation”
  • US Army - US DOT Coordination Meeting (August 3, 2012) 

Approach: Moving Forward

  • Connected Vehicle Program Milestones
    • Safety Pilot Begins August 2012
    • NHTSA Decision expected in 2013
    • Mobility and Environment Applications Development and Testing Continues
  • Vehicle Automation Research Program
    • Continue work on USDOT Vehicle Automation Research Plan and Roadmap
  • TRB Workshop Proceedings and Next Steps
  • Accessible Transportation Research

Growing Opportunity for Benefits of Automation

Persons with Disabilities

54.4 Million People with Disabilities

  • 20% US population; 63% Unemployed
  • Income: $38,400 vs. $61,000
  • Poverty: 24.7% vs. 9.0%
  • Fed Cost: $226 B (2002); $357 B (2008)
Veterans with Disabilities

1.4 Million Disabled Veterans

  • $1 Billion Claims in 2006
  • $6 Billion Claims in 2012

Seniors Age 65 +

  • 35 million in 2004
  • 72 million by 2025

Where Automation Can Take Us...

Automated Trip Planning, Automated On-Demand Accessible Connections, Personal Mobility Vehicles, Mobility, Hearing, Vision, Intellectual, User Needs

Surface Transportation System: Independently Managed Today

Picture 1. Graphic. The picture shows a Traffic Management Center with several rows of people at desks with monitors and several large wall-mounted screens depicting live roadway conditions.
Author: Ed Schipul
Picture 2. Graphic. The picture shows a large toll plaza with several lanes of cars feeding into the toll booths.
Author: Hunter Sunrise
Picture 3. Graphic. The picture shows a single articulated metro bus driving on a roadway.
Released to the Public Domain by author, no attribution required.
Picture 4. Graphic. The picture shows the side of a metro-transit car with two passengers exiting through the open doors onto a platform.
Author : dbking
Picture 5. Graphic. The picture shows a row of bikes parked at a bikeshare facility along a sidewalk.
Author: Agamitsudo
Picture 6. Graphic. The picture shows a birds-eye view of a major freeway interchange with several on/off ramps.

Moving toward Integrated Multimodal Operations

Integrated Goals:

  • Safety
  • State of Good Repair
  • Economic Competitiveness
  • Livable Communities
  • Environmental Sustainability


Graphic showing integrated transportation systems

Integrated System:

  • Payload
  • Vehicles
  • Infrastructure
  • Terminals
  • Connectivity

Copyright Owners.

The photos with author names next to them are available under a common license. Click the author’s name to access the license specific to that photo.

The highway on-ramp photo was purchased  from iStock for this project, and can be used freely for FHWA/TOL presentations - you can find it at by searching 000005237320.


United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration