Focus Areas

Connected and Automated Vehicles


Connected and Automated Vehicles (C/AV) will present new opportunities and challenges for planning agencies with respect to identifying, prioritizing, and evaluating projects and programs. The resources below are a starting point to help planners better understand C/AV technologies and their potential impact on transportation planning. The FHWA Office of Planning is currently developing a separate web page that will provide a comprehensive look at C/AV and Planning.


Resources and Publications


Planning Techniques to Address Connected and Automated Vehicles

  • Connected Vehicle Impacts on Transportation Planning: Primer – The primer illustrates how connected vehicles (CVs) may be considered across the range of transportation planning processes and products developed by states, metropolitan planning organizations, and local agencies.
  • Connected Vehicle Impacts on Transportation Planning: Desk Reference – This desk reference is designed to help transportation professionals quickly understand and begin planning for the wide variety of impacts that C/AV technology is expected to have on transportation planning products and processes. It is designed to be a flexible document, and it is not necessary to read the reference cover-to-cover or in order. Readers can simply turn their attention to whichever transportation planning product, planning step or process, C/AV impact, or C/AV application they need further information on.
  • Connected Vehicle Impacts on Transportation Planning: Outreach to Planning Community – This report presents outreach memos on 11 case studies analyzing the impacts of C/AV on various transportation planning products. It provides a high-level account of the most significant or unique impacts of C/AV on particular planning products. The main objective of this research was to comprehensively assess how CVs should be considered across the range of transportation planning processes and products.
  • Connected Vehicle Impacts on Transportation Planning: Analysis of the Need for New and Enhanced Analysis Tools, Techniques, and Data—Briefing for Traffic Simulation Models – This report focuses on the research and activities that will need to take place in order to adapt existing transportation models to include C/AV. It includes a summary of existing data, tools, and products currently used; a gap analysis identifying the limitations of current models in C/AV analysis; and finally, a research plan to target the identified needs and gaps. A current NCHRP Project Task (20-102, Task 9) is comprehensively examining the role of models in planning for C/AV, with a report expected in early 2018.
  • Planning for Operations – Methods developed to support Planning for Operations are relevant to assessing CV projects, especially Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) investments. Many techniques for assessing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) investments also apply to CVs.
  • Performance-Based Planning and Programming – Iterating through the steps of performance-based planning and programming is an effective way of responding to rapidly developing technologies like C/AV. Developing a vision of desirable outcomes is essential. The other key element is to develop and use performance measures and data collection to assess progress toward those outcomes. Progress in this case is not just the result of planned investments, but also results from external development of C/AV technologies, and the markets for them.
    • Performance-Based Planning – This website provides an up-to-date overview of FHWA resources related to performance based planning and programming. The website includes guidebooks, case studies, and other resources related to performance based planning and programming.
    • Performance-Based Planning for Operations –This website provides resources for integrating operations into planning and programming. The methods and examples are useful in planning for CVs, but can also help consider AVs.
  • Scenario Planning – Discussing and evaluating possible future scenarios is a key planning activity that can help understand and respond to C/AV technologies. The links offer various resources for using scenario planning.
  • NCHRP 20-102: Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies – The objectives of this National Cooperative Highway Research Program are to (1) identify critical issues associated with C/AVs that state and local transportation agencies and AASHTO will face, (2) conduct research to address those issues, and (3) conduct related technology transfer and information exchange activities. 15 different research tasks cover C/AV implications for transit, freight, planning and modeling tools, travel demand, and infrastructure needs, among others.
    • NCHRP Report 845: Advancing Automated and Connected Vehicles: Policy and Planning Strategies for State and Local Transportation Officials – This report assesses policy and planning strategies at the state, regional, and local levels that could influence private-sector automated vehicle (AV) and connected vehicle (CV) choices to positively affect societal goals. The report aims to assist agencies with exploring actions that might increase the likelihood that AV and CV technologies will have beneficial impacts on traffic crashes, congestion, pollution, land development, and mobility (particularly for older adults, youths under the age of 16, and individuals with disabilities).
    • Strategies to Advance Automated Vehicles and Connected Vehicles: Briefing Document – This briefing document is intended for state, regional, and local agency and political decision makers who are framing public policy making for these transformational technologies. The briefing document makes the case for taking action in spite of uncertainties and presents 18 policy and planning strategies that may be useful in advancing societal goals. It is based upon NCHRP Report 845, Advancing Automated and Connected Vehicles: Policy and Planning Strategies for State and Local Transportation Officials.

Connected Vehicles

Connected Vehicles (CV), implemented for example through Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology, apply emerging communication and intelligent transportation technologies to improve safety, mobility and efficiency of the transportation system. V2I investments are under consideration today by many planning agencies. Planning techniques for evaluating investments in CV include Planning for Operations, Performance-Based Planning, and Scenario Planning.

  • Connected Vehicle Resources from the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office
    • Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Resources. V2I technologies capture vehicle-generated traffic data, wirelessly providing information such as advisories from the infrastructure to the vehicle that inform the driver of safety, mobility, or environment-related conditions. This page lists a broad range of resources that help planners, transportation engineers, decision-makers, and other involved in the ITS deployment process with valuable information about V2I technologies.
    • Planning for the Future of Transportation: Connected Vehicles and ITS – This two-page brochure briefly overviews the USDOT-funded CV Pilot Deployment Program. Additionally, it outlines the key elements of performance-based planning and programming and how CV technologies can impact that process.
    • How Connected Vehicles Work – CVs have the potential to transform the way Americans travel through the creation of a safe, interoperable wireless communications network—a system that includes cars, buses, trucks, trains, traffic signals, cell phones, and other devices. This website describes generally how CV technology works and its potential to improve safety, mobility, and the environment.
    • What Public Officials Need to Know About Connected Vehicles – The website contains a high-level, non-technical overview of CV technology. It covers the basics of how CV technology works and how it can impact communities by improving safety, decreasing congestion, and reducing pollution.
    • Connected Vehicle Basics – This user-friendly page answers many of the most common questions about connected vehicles, including benefits, uses, costs, deployment timeline, and privacy. It includes information on the role of the federal government in development and deploying CV technology and international CV activity.
  • 2015 FHWA Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment Guidance and Products. This draft guidance is meant to assist FHWA and transportation system operators deploy V2I technology. It offers practices to help ensure interoperability with existing transportation systems as well as efficient transportation planning and operations management .
  • GAO Report: Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Expected to Offer Benefits, but Deployment Challenges Exist – This report addresses: (1) the status of V2I technologies; (2) challenges that could affect the deployment of V2I technologies, and DOT efforts to address these challenges; and (3) what is known about the potential benefits and costs of V2I technologies.

Automated Vehicles

Automated Vehicles (AV) are finding their way onto our highways in increasing numbers. There are many uncertainties in what AVs will be able to do, how they will be deployed, and how the public will use them. That makes it impossible to know today whether AVs will call for new investments, or whether AVs will make certain future planned investments obsolete before they are built. In addition, regulatory decisions made outside the planning process will have a significant (and still unknown) effect on how AVs are deployed. Key planning activities include discussing AVs during the planning process, revisiting the discussions regularly during planning document update cycles, and regularly re-assessing what we are learning from pilot projects and on-road testing. Planning techniques that can be used to develop responses to AVs include Scenario Planning and Performance-Based Planning and Programming.

  • Federal Automated Vehicles Policy – This guidance, intended to be updated soon, focuses on four key areas to facilitate the safe introduction and deployment of highly automated vehicles: (1) vehicle performance guidance for automated vehicles, (2) model state policy, (3) NHTSA’s current regulatory tools, and (4) new tools and authorities.
  • USDOT Automated Vehicle (AV) Research Activities: Current and Completed Projects – This table summarizes current and completed research and other activities within the U.S. DOT focused on AV technology development and evaluation, policy assessment, and impacts estimation. Projects and activities are grouped according to performing agency and, though accurate as of posting, this list is subject to change. The list does not include planned research.
  • NHTSA Automated Vehicles – More than 30,000 people die on U.S. roads every year and 94% of crashes are due to human error. AV safety technologies signal the next revolution in roadway safety and have the potential to save lives and prevent crashes. This webpage provides resources and policy related to safety and automated vehicles.
  • Environmental Justice Considerations for Connected and Automated Vehicles. – Developed by FHWA, this fact sheet provides information on the benefits and challenges associated with the deployment of C/AVs and considerations to help address potential negative impacts on Environmental Justice populations.
  • Benefits Estimation Framework for Automated Vehicle Operations – This report presents a framework for estimating the potential benefits and dis-benefits of technologies contributing to the automation of the Nation’s surface transportation system. Components of the framework include (1) Safety: exposure to near-crash situations, crash prevention, and crash severity reduction; (2) Vehicle mobility: vehicle throughput, both in car following situations and at intersections; (3) Energy / environment: fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions; (4) Accessibility: personal mobility, for motorists and non-motorists; (5) Transportation system usage: response of travelers to changes in mobility and accessibility, as well as potential new modes of transportation such as increased car sharing; (6) Land use: effects of automation on land use, and (7) Economic analysis: the macro-economic impacts of all of the above changes.
  • American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) Autonomous Vehicle Library – AAMVA has established an AV Information Sharing Group to gather, organize and share information with the AAMVA community related to the development, design, testing, use and regulation of AVs and other emerging vehicle technology

Calendar of Events

Check the calendar

Peer Event Reports

The TPCB peer program is a free resource for agencies in need of transportation planning assistance. Visit the peer program page to learn more or apply for a peer event.

Related Websites and Organizations

  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
    • Subcommittee on Transportation Systems Management and Operations – This AASTHO Subcommittee serves as the focal point for promoting and supporting integrated implementation of transportation systems management and operations (TSM&O) by engaging state DOTs, other AASHTO committees, and other partner organizations. This page contains a list of meetings, webinars, and resources related to C/AV technology.
    • National Connected Vehicle Field Infrastructure Footprint Analysis – This Final Report consists of a vision for a national footprint; a description of the background for and current research on CV deployments; a set of assumptions underlying the infrastructure footprint analysis; the applications analysis; the preliminary national footprint, including the value proposition, deployment objectives, context, and scenarios; and a preliminary deployment and operations cost estimation.
    • AASHTO’s Standing Committee on Planning has a C/AV Working Group. Published materials from that group’s work (e.g. from a C/AV workshop scheduled at the 2017 summer meeting) may become available.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures Autonomous Vehicles/Self-Driving Vehicles Enacted Legislation – This webpage provides an overview of the various actions, including legislation and executive orders, which states and local governments have taken to address autonomous vehicles. The page also includes a legislative database that provides up-to-date, real-time information about state autonomous vehicle legislation that has been introduced in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • AMPO AV Working Group – In 2017, AMPO mobilized a C/AV working group to serve as a focal point for MPOs to engage with U.S. DOT on C/AV programs, policies, and issues. This page contains more information on the working group, in addition to a detailed list of resources and meeting presentations.
For more information about the TPCB program, please email TPCB@dot.gov.

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