Steering Transportation Technology in the Right Direction

Recap of BB&K Innovation Webinar Series

From dockless e-bikes and e-scooters to autonomous shuttle services, states and local governments have rightly embraced deployment of promising emerging technologies for use by citizens. However, sometimes an important question is bypassed in the planning: Why?
 
The “why” gets to the importance of having a vision for the safe and effective deployment of emerging transportation technologies into a community’s transportation system. This is in addition to ensuring that the basic policy and legal frameworks are in place for new technologies, which often do not fit neatly into existing regulations, laws or ordinances.
 
The challenges and opportunities being presented to communities during this time inspired a four-part introductory webinar series from Best Best & Krieger LLP that focused on the following:
 
Part 1: Emerging Transportation Technologies: Introduction to Legal and Policy Landscape
 
The conversation begins with an introduction to the legal and policy landscape around emerging transportation technologies. Presenters from the San Diego Association of Governments and the City of Tucson discuss regional approaches toward planning for new mobility options, including dockless, shared e-bikes and e-scooters and autonomous vehicles. The conversation also provides guidance on developing and approving new regulations related to the deployment of transportation technologies in a community.
 
Part 2: Transportation Technology Partnerships: Contracting, Coordination and Data Sharing
 
Next, the conversation turns toward partnerships between the public and private sector with a presentation from Valley Metro Regional Transportation Authority. In this webinar, Valley Metro discusses its cutting-edge partnership with Waymo, including how the partnership came about and is being fostered. Additionally, the conversation focuses on the planning, governance and legal issues around such dynamic collaborations between the public and private sector.
 
Part 3: Mitigating Transportation Technology Risks: Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity
 
The third webinar focuses on privacy and data sharing issues that arise with the integration of emerging technologies into the transportation system. Data brings with it both opportunities and risks that need to be carefully navigated. Representatives from the Washington State Transportation Center and the University of Washington discuss partnerships to promote data sharing for transportation project prioritization and privacy issues that come with the collection of transportation data. The conversation also introduces opportunities for third-party data repositories, including models for data collection and analysis being put forward by Populus.
 
Part 4: Transportation Technology Infrastructure: A Smarter Future Requires Smarter Infrastructure
 
The final webinar discussed the important and difficult issue of planning for — and paying for — infrastructure to support the future of our transportation system. Planning insights are provided by WSP, USA, including potential timelines around the continued introduction of emerging transportation technologies into communities. Further, an introduction to the looming “smart” infrastructure discussion in Congress around both an infrastructure package and expiration of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act in 2020 was is given.
 
This is only the beginning of this important conversation around the safe and effective continued introduction of emerging transportation technologies into our diverse transportation system. We look forward to continuing to proactively bring legal, regulatory and policy insights with a focus on states and local governments.
 
If you are interested in helping us shape more discussions in the coming year, please take this short survey to help us identify topics that would be the most useful and timely for your innovation-related projects.

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