By Regina Hopper, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy at GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc.

In recording the POLICYSMART podcasts, I have the opportunity to hear interesting stories that never get fully developed during the episode.

In a recent interview with Leslie Richards, the amazing Secretary of PennDOT, she spoke about a new regulatory initiative instituted in Pennsylvania that is meant to balance advancing technology, public acceptance, and safety simultaneously.

Pennsylvania has been a leader in autonomous vehicle testing. Just recently, PennDOT announced interim regulations, voluntary in nature awaiting state legislative efforts, which require companies testing autonomous vehicles on Pennsylvania roads to provide certain information — company information, certifications, geographic routes of testing, and insurance coverage to the state. Most importantly, however, is that this new regulation states that companies subject to an NTSB investigation must stop testing. Following the recent accident in Arizona, which resulted in Uber halting its AV testing, this regulation is meant to allow testing to continue until federal and state regulators can understand the circumstances around it.

This regulation is just one effort PennDOT is using to keep ahead of the next generation mobility issues. In its 2018 Pennsylvania Automated Summit in Pittsburgh, where Carnegie Mellon helped drive the AV testing, Secretary Richards welcomed 400 people to talk about how to safely move into the future through planning for both today’s and tomorrow’s infrastructure needs. There is a big difference between testing for safety and making sure that a state is safely ready for deploying these new technologies. So, in addition to the new AV regulations, the state also announced plans for more training and testing which it dubbed PennSTART.

If you are interested in more about what PennDOT is doing in these areas, you can check out their website’s Resource page. You can also hear more about the work going on in Pennsylvania by subscribing to the POLICYSMART podcast, as we are highlighting women in ITS during the month of May.

GRIDSMART will be having its own look at the day to day work required to get new smart or intelligent infrastructure into existing infrastructure on October 16-18 at its INTERSECT18 conference in Knoxville. This will be a gathering to get down to the nitty-gritty with actionable information you can use to walk out the door and get it done.

It is through these gatherings that the work of moving the next generation of transportation forward takes place. Additionally, it is with the foresight of private industry and public leaders like PennDOT and Secretary Richards that mobility of the future will have safety at its driving force.

To read more articles from the Summer 2018 edition of #talkITS, subscribe online here

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