With digital and physical infrastructure merging together between now and 2030, policy makers at all levels must respond to current technological developments by altering, amending or even formulating new policies and the associated rules and regulations, says Charles Edwards, Director of Logistics Strategy at the North Carolina Department of Transportation and one of two authors of Roadmap 2.0’s section on Logistics Infrastructure.
“Departments of transportation nationwide, including the one I work for, need a framework within which we can work to provide and implement the physical infrastructure needed,” he explains. “With that guidance we can establish so that that technologies like autonomous vehicles of all kinds can work properly; businesses can upgrade, develop and implement new systems; and consumers can get the products they want when they want them.”
Edwards says participants in the Roadmap 2.0 workshops highlighted four critical issues that policy makers should address—preferably sooner than later—that will shape future physical infrastructure planning and design. They include:
1. Accommodation of communications systems and sensors used by semi- and fully-autonomous vehicles.
2. Protection of data flowing to and from semi- and fully-autonomous vehicles through the creation of standard protocols and restriction of access to commercially sensitive information.
3. Establishment of a new environment for assessing liability issues arising from accidents involving semi- and fully-autonomous vehicles.
4. New design criteria for roads, bridges and other infrastructure elements that are used by semi-and fully-autonomous vehicles.
“By way of example, particularly on that last bullet point, here at the North Carolina Department of Transportation we’re trying to determine what level of quality the lane striping will need to be and how it will should be maintained so autonomous vehicles’ sensors can reliably detect what lane they are in,” Edwards says. “We have to think down to that level. Having mandated standards and regulations will go a long way to answering those questions.”
Discover more about the intersection of technology, policy and physical infrastructure by downloading the free Roadmap 2.0 report, here.