May 22, 2018
In September 2017, the House of Representatives passed the SELF DRIVE Act by unanimous voice vote. The bill would for the first time establish a national regulatory program for highly automated vehicles (HAVs), defined technically as vehicles equipped with SAE International Levels 3-5 automated driving systems (ADS)—or, in plain English, vehicles that offer limited- to full-self-driving functions. See SAE’s Recommended Practice J3016 for more detail.
May 11, 2018
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the national safety regulator of heavy trucks and buses, or commercial motor vehicles. It was created in 2000 after Congress spun off CMV operations regulatory functions from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carriers amid complaints from highway safety advocates that the Federal Highway Administration wasn’t taking seriously the CMV regulatory component of its mission. Two decades later, these complaints from safety advocates, which supported the creation of FMCSA, are still being made.
April 16, 2018
Last week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) introduced his updated Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, eliminating the air traffic control reform title, and making a small number of tweaks to his previous bill. The bad news is air traffic control modernization will continue to lag behind the rest of the industrialized world and U.S. air travelers will suffer more delays, longer flight times, and higher airfares. The good news is even without air traffic control reform, Chairman Shuster’s bipartisan legislation offers some important aviation policy improvements.
March 26, 2018
Real-life road testing is the best way to continue improving the performance of automated driving systems, thanks in part to the gathering of real-time road data. Throughout that process, engineers will have the time and information to write technical standards to better inform any future regulatory changes. But cutting off or greatly curtailing automated vehicle road testing would only forestall the radical safety improvements that can help end much of the death and destruction that occur on America’s roadways due to driver error.
March 21, 2018
One of the most underappreciated drivers of the modern global economy is the humble shipping container. Widely adopted internationally in the second half of the 20th century, intermodal containers largely supplanted break bulk cargo—the bags, barrels, pallets, and crates that must be individually loaded and unloaded onto ships, railcars, and trucks.
March 20, 2018
The process for modernizing federal motor vehicle safety standards needs to be improved, thereby allowing for more rapid deployment of vehicles equipped with new self-driving technology that are expected to come to market in the coming years. This is critical not only for the potential safety benefits offered by automated vehicles, but for the potential mobility gains to the disabled and elderly, the reduced cost of mobility to urban and suburban dwellers, and far more efficient freight networks.
March 8, 2018
With President Trump’s announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs and his continued wrong-headed approach to trade policy, there are reasons to be concerned that a shift from free-market policies to more protectionist policies will erase any and all gains this administration has made on the economic front.
February 20, 2018
Applying the precautionary principle to the regulation of self-driving cars could mean more highway fatalities, by delaying the introduction of new, lifesaving technologies.
February 15, 2018
The Free to Fly Act would eliminate a generations-old anticompetitive federal law governing domestic airline ownership.
February 12, 2018
This morning, the White House released its long-anticipated, 53-page infrastructure proposal. It is an expansion of the leaked six-page summary that I commented on in late January. The proposal has some elements that will appeal to free market fiscal conservatives. Others, not so much.