February 21, 2020
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During her keynote speech at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting in Washington D.C., U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (seen above) highlighted three new vehicle safety initiatives being launched by her agency.

[Above photo by TRB.]

The first is an expansion of USDOT’s Partnership for Analytics Research in Traffic Safety or PARTS program. The PARTS II expansion of the program aims to collect data on advanced driver-assistance systems or ADAS such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, alongside ongoing efforts to gather information on automatic emergency braking technology.

Next, USDOT is endorsing a standardized listing of recommended ADAS terminology through an initiative entitled Clearing the Confusion spearheaded by the National Safety Council, AAA, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power in an effort to ensure drivers are aware that these systems are designed to assist but not replace driver engagement in vehicle operation.

Photo by Tony Webster

Finally, USDOT is planning to fund a First Responder Safety Technology Pilot Program with up to $38 million to equip emergency response vehicles, transit vehicles and related infrastructure – including traffic signals and highway-rail-grade crossings – with vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication technology that uses the 5.9 GHZ wireless communication spectrum currently allocated for transportation-only use.

“Every year there are about 46,000 crashes, 17,000 injuries, and 150 fatalities involving emergency response vehicles,” Sec. Chao noted in her remarks. “We are always working on ways to make transportation safer, more accessible, and better for everyone.”

editor@aashto.org

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