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Research Program: Automated Transit Buses

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Research Program: Automated Transit Buses

K. Jane Williams
Federal Transit Administration
16 January 2018

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 10 (Tuesday, January 16, 2018)]
[Pages 2321-2323]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-00615]



Federal Transit Administration

[Docket No. FTA-2017-0024]

Research Program: Automated Transit Buses

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) seeks public comment 
regarding the current and near-future status of automated transit buses 
and related technologies. FTA seeks comments in particular from parties 
involved in the development, demonstration, deployment, and evaluation 
of currently available or near-market ready automated buses; systems 
and components that support bus automation; and ancillary systems that 
support non-driving bus operator functions (e.g., wheelchair 
securement, occupant detection, passenger information assistance, fare 
payment, etc.). For purposes of this notice, ``bus'' is defined broadly 
to consider a range of sizes, vehicle platforms and configurations, and 
passenger capacities, and could include both traditional and novel 
vehicle designs (e.g., full-size city buses, articulated buses, small 
shuttles, etc.). ``Bus'' includes bus rapid transit.

DATES: Comments must be submitted by March 2, 2018. FTA will consider 
late-filed comments to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: Please submit your comments by only one of the following 
methods, identifying your submission by docket number FTA-2017-0024. 
All electronic submissions must be made to the U.S. Government 
electronic site at http://www.regulations.gov.
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov 
and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    (2) Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (3) Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    (4) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name (Federal Transit 
Administration) and Docket number (FTA-2017-0024) for this notice at 
the beginning of your comments. Submit two copies of your comments if 
you submit them by mail. For confirmation that FTA received your 
comments, include a self-addressed stamped postcard. Note that all 
comments received will be posted without change to www.regulations.gov 
including any personal information provided and will be available to 
internet users. You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement 
published in the Federal

[[Page 2322]]

Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477).
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents and 
comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, 
DC 20590 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions, contact Steve 
Mortensen, Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, Federal 
Transit Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Room E43-422, 
Washington, DC 20590, phone: (202) 493-0459, fax: (202) 366-3765, or 
email, Steven.Mortensen@dot.gov.


I. Overview

    Transportation currently is undergoing a transformation. As 
traveler preferences and needs recently have evolved and continue to 
change, so have the capabilities of emerging transportation 
technologies and, more importantly, the operational concepts defining 
how those technologies will be deployed in our communities.
    Motor vehicle automation (both as a technology platform and service 
model) has become the most talked about development for surface 
transportation in recent times. Many industry stakeholders and 
observers anticipate and expect that public transportation will have a 
significant role in this new space, as garnered from transit 
stakeholders during FTA preliminary research on the subject. Certain 
operational applications such as circulator or first mile/last mile 
service are clear instances where the use of automated motor vehicles 
could play a very effective role, based on transit stakeholder input 
and preliminary benefit-cost information on these service types. 
Circulator service is regular service within a closed loop, typically 
on a fixed route, and may be found in business parks, retirement 
communities, college campuses, downtowns, etc. First mile/last mile 
service provides service between high-capacity fixed-route service, 
such as rail transit and bus rapid transit, and a traveler's origin 
and/or destination, usually within a radius of three miles and often in 
an area of low-density development.
    FTA is seeking comments and information for the purpose of 
determining the current state of the industry as related to automated 
vehicle technology in order to make more informed decisions regarding 
future areas of research. The intent of this request for comments is to 
gauge the transit industry and other sectors' ability and interest in 
responding to one or more near-future Notices of Funding Opportunity 
(NOFOs) for demonstration(s) and evaluation(s) of use cases where 
commercially ready technology and products could be applied to transit 
to provide early demonstrable results. FTA has identified transit bus 
automation use cases, organized into five general categories, as 
outlined below:

1. Transit Bus Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
     Smooth Acceleration and Deceleration
     Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Collision 
     Curb Avoidance
     Object Avoidance
     Precision Docking
     Narrow Lane/Shoulder Operations
2. Automated Shuttles
     Circulator Bus Service
     Feeder Bus Service
3. Maintenance, Yard, and Parking Operations
     Precision Movement for Fueling, Service Bays, and Bus Wash
     Automated Parking and Recall
4. Mobility-on-Demand Service
     Automated First/Last Mile
     Automated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
     On-Demand Shared Ride
5. Automated Bus Rapid Transit

    This notice is a request for comments and information only. It is 
not a solicitation for project proposals. Submission of any information 
in response to this notice is voluntary. The Government will not pay 
for any effort expended in responding to this notice.

II. Scope and Submission of Comments

    The goal of this notice is to better inform FTA of existing transit 
bus automation technology, and to assist FTA in identifying potential 
areas of future research. For purposes of this notice, ``bus'' is 
defined broadly to consider a range of sizes, vehicle platforms and 
configurations, and passenger capacities, and could include both 
traditional and novel vehicle designs (e.g., full-size city buses, 
articulated buses, small shuttles, etc.). ``Bus'' includes bus rapid 
    FTA requests comments for a broad range of automation technologies 
spanning automation levels 1-5 as defined in the Society of Automotive 
Engineers (SAE) standard J3016_201609 (see http://standards.sae.org/j3016_201609/). Responses to this notice will help inform FTA on the 
technological readiness of the transit industry to participate in 
demonstrations of use cases as identified above.
    In particular, FTA seeks comments with respect to the following 
areas of interest:
    A. What transit bus automation and supplemental technologies 
currently exist, and/or are being developed? Are there any ADAS, 
inclusive of automated actuation (e.g., as in an automated emergency 
braking application), currently available or soon to be available in 
the market? If so, please specify or describe these new systems and 
    B. What light-duty and commercial vehicle automation technologies 
currently on the market or in development could be transferred or 
applied to transit buses?
    C. Are there any new business models or processes that may arise in 
response to or may accommodate transit bus automation, including, but 
not limited to, cross-organizational data management and exchange? If 
so, please specify or describe these new potential business models or 
    Please note FTA is not seeking comments pertaining to systems 
without an automated driving aspect (e.g., driver warnings and alerts), 
unless the system is evolving to include automation in the foreseeable 
future. Please also note that this notice is not seeking comments 
related to rail fixed guideway systems or personal rapid transit 
    Each response should indicate which level of automation the 
technology or process addresses. Inclusion of existing supplemental 
information is welcomed and encouraged. This supplemental information 
could include reports, presentations, specifications, or other 
documentation. Interested parties are requested to respond to this 
notice in writing as soon as possible but not later than March 2, 2018.
    This request for comments is for information and planning purposes 
only, and is a market research tool to determine the availability and 
adequacy of potential business sources prior to determining the method 
of acquisition and possible issuance of a Request for Proposal (RFP) or 
NOFO, including the use of any non-profit organization or small 
business program. This notice does not constitute a solicitation for 
bids, quotations, and proposals, and is not to be construed as a 
commitment by FTA to issue an RFP or NOFO. FTA is not obligated to and 
will not pay for any information received from potential sources as a 
result of response to this

[[Page 2323]]

notice. FTA will not pay for any materials provided in response to this 
notice and submittals will not be returned to the sender.
    Each response should reference the docket number (FTA-2017-0024), 
and provide the name and contact information (company, company 
representative's name, phone, email, etc.) of the submitter, at a 
    For information about the Federal Transit Administration, please 
refer to the FTA website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2018 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR Part 1.91.
K. Jane Williams,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-00615 Filed 1-12-18; 8:45 am]

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