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National Dialogue on Highway Automation Readout
Detroit, Michigan
June 7, 2018

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National Dialogue on Highway Automation Readout

June 7, 2018

DETROIT - The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is holding a series of listening sessions intended to gather information from government partners, stakeholders, researchers, and industry on various topics related to automated vehicles and a network of automated highways on highway automation. The first session kicked off on Thursday, June 7, in Detroit, Michigan.

The "National Dialogue on Highway Automation" session was attended by more than 200 participants from industry, government, state and local transportation agencies, research institutions, and universities.

Image of Martin C. Knopp addressing meeting.

FHWA's Associate Administrator for Operations Martin Knopp opened the meeting by thanking the partners in the effort to have a national conversation to better understand the implications of highway automation and enable broader collaboration. He indicated the purpose of the dialogues was to learn about key priorities and both the challenges and opportunities with this cutting-edge technology. Knopp said FHWA would use the input gathered through the series of listening sessions to inform future research, policies, and programs.

FHWA Associate Administrator for Policy Mala Parker reaffirmed the agency's commitment to working with its transportation partners to address their needs and to consider how FHWA can support the development of an engaged and collaborative community around automation.

Parker noted that the dialogues set the stage for ongoing discussions and highlighted additional topics that will be covered in the coming months, including policy and planning, operations, infrastructure, freight, and data systems. As industry continues to develop, test, and deploy new technologies, she said FHWA wants to understand these issues, as well as how they will affect the many state and local agencies responsible for maintaining and operating the nation’s roadways.

Image of Finch Fulton making remarks.

The event was keynoted by Finch Fulton, who serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). During his remarks, Fulton stressed that this National Dialogue is a key part of USDOT's coordinated, multimodal approach to prepare our nation's surface transportation system for the impacts of automation. He emphasized the department's commitment to working with industry leaders and stakeholders to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation.

The participants spent much of the session engaging in dialogue with one another in small groups seeking to identify key issues and challenges for highway automation as well as new ways for industry, government, and associations to partner together in preparation for the future of automated technologies.

Image of 6 panelists sitting during panel discussion.

A panel discussion, which included (from left to right), Cambridge, Massachusetts Transportation Director Joe Barr, AAA Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy Managing Director Jill Ingrassia, Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle, Global Automakers Vehicle Safety and Connected Automation Vice President Steve Gehring, and Governors Highway Safety Association Director of Government Relations Russ Martin, was moderated by FHWA Office of Operations Office of Transportation Management Director Valerie Briggs.

More information is available from the National Dialogue on Highway Automation Web site at

(All photos source: Federal Highway Administration)

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