The National Association of Counties (NACo) has created the Connected and Automated Vehicles Toolkit: A Primer for Counties to provide county leaders with an opening framework to the connected and automated vehicles conversation and starting ideas for how counties may enter the field.
Technology manufacturers, software developers, auto companies, universities and many other professionals have long been imagining and testing a variety of techniques to optimize the nation’s transportation system through the use of integrated technology, communications, vehicles and infrastructure. These breakthroughs are poised to revolutionize local and national transportation systems and could bring significant changes to the built environment and how residents live, work and move around the community.
As significant advances in transportation technologies continue to be made, it is imperative that county officials, county engineers and transportation planners understand these advancements when making decisions about future needs.
The primer has four main sections: Technology, policy, deployment and next steps. With the fast pace of technological advancements in the connected and automated vehicle industry, it can be hard for government policy and procurement systems to keep pace. The technology section provides an introduction to connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) and the technologies developed to support them, while the policy section provides an overview of current CAV-related policy at the federal, state and local levels. With a basic understanding of current technology and policy in place, the toolkit then sets the stage for the current state of CAV deployment at the federal, state and local government levels — as well as within the automotive industry.
Each of these sections highlights useful existing resources that have been created to track and showcase these advancements, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Automated Vehicles for Safety webpage to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Autonomous Vehicles State Bill Tracking Database, as well as NACo’s Connected Counties: Tech Innovations in Transportation publication and the National League of Cities’ Autonomous Vehicle Pilots Across America report.
There are a number of ways that county leaders can leverage new technology innovations to facilitate transportation services' design and delivery, improve public safety and promote local and regional economic development. By making minute changes to infrastructure and policies today, counties can prepare themselves to be at the forefront of the mainstream application of connected and autonomous vehicle technology in the future.
This toolkit primes county officials to determine if their counties have potential to be leaders in the continued development of the connected and automated vehicles field whether via the adoption of local policies or the deployment of CAVs on local roads.