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HAV Advisory Committee Projects

The Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee identified four areas of focus.
  •  Public and Stakeholder Outreach
  •  Workforce Development
  •  Vehicle Code Revisions
  •  Supplementing Multimodal Services
  • AV Guiding Principles

Public and Stakeholder Outreach

With the advancement of Automated Driving Systems (ADS), both in consumer vehicles and test vehicles, public and stakeholder misunderstanding has become a frequent occurrence. This highlights the need for education to ensure that as these technologies continue to advance and enter the market, the technology is understood, correctly used, and ultimately creates a safer transportation system.


  1. Outreach Surveys – PennDOT plans to produce and distribute both a public and municipal government survey. The public survey will be limited to Pennsylvania citizens and attempt to identify the public’s perception of automated vehicles including expectation, and concerns related to automated vehicles. The municipal government survey will attempt to gather information on existing executive orders/ordinances, initiatives, and public engagement related to automated vehicles.
  2. Statewide Communications and Engagement Plan – PennDOT will lead the development of a statewide communications and engagement plan. The plan will establish a framework for educating the public, policymakers, and key stakeholders on the current state of technology and potential expectations for the future. The plan will not advocate for any technology or public policies, but rather identify the level of education and awareness needed for all parties to be able to make informed decisions.

Workforce Development

As with all emerging technologies, automated vehicles will have implications on Pennsylvania’s workforce. In all likelihood, this technology will displace workers and create job loss in certain areas. However, this technology will also create new sectors and career paths that do not exist today. It is important that Pennsylvania understands the impacts and takes the appropriate steps to prepare our workforce education, training, and career transitioning.


  1. Pilot Workforce Development Plan – Knowing the broad impact vehicle automation will have on Pennsylvania’s workforce, the Advisory Committee has decided to conduct an initial examination of one to two careers, automotive technicians and/or commercial truck drivers. Both of these careers are being impacted by the introduction of Advanced Driver­Assistance Systems (ADAS) and these impacts will only grow with the deployment of highly automated vehicles.

Vehicle Code Revisions

When Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes was created, automated vehicles were never a consideration. It was always assumed a licensed driver would be in physical control of the vehicle. Currently, automated vehicle testing in Pennsylvania is being conducted with a licensed driver seated in the driver’s seat with the ability to intervene in situations where the ADS experiences a system interruption or other problem rendering the ADS unable to safely perform the dynamic driving task. However, as technology progresses, Pennsylvania will have to clarify and revise Title 75 to allow for fully automated vehicles.


  1. Vehicle Code Assessment – PennDOT will lead a legal assessment of Title 75 to identify implications and areas of concern related to the deployment of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 5 fully automated vehicles. PennDOT will also examine potential solutions including systematic changes or the development of new chapters.

Supplementing Multimodal Services

Automated vehicles offer a unique opportunity to supplement and enhance existing multimodal services. However, this technology is not a one size fits all solution and it is important to conduct a thorough analysis to ensure the costs, both monetary and administrative, do not outweigh any potential benefits. In situations where it makes sense, automated vehicles could assist with off­hour services, supplement services during peak demand, and provide a new connection between existing services.


  1. Platooning Public Transportation Vehicles Feasibility Study – With the passage of Act 117 of 2018, transit vehicles are permitted to platoon on highways in Pennsylvania. PennDOT will perform a study to determine if platooning transit vehicles can supplement existing intercity passenger rail in western Pennsylvania. As part of the study, PennDOT will determine the level of investment, document potential impacts to the region and existing services, evaluate ridership demand, and determine a return­on­investment.

AV Guding Principles

Knowing the difficulty of getting every stakeholder to agree on AV legislation, the Advisory Committee developed the principles can be used by elected officials as a foundation for developing automated vehicle legislation.  The principles pertain to fleet use cases and exclude personal-use vehicles.

Safety - Automated vehicles have the potential to significantly improve the safety of the transportation system and Pennsylvania should actively advance this technology in a manner where the safety of all users is ensured.


  • AV operators should self-certify to PennDOT that the automated driving system complies with federal standards, aligns with best practices and/or standards, including those related to cybersecurity, and meets criteria established by the Commonwealth.
  • AV operators should routinely provide PennDOT with appropriate metrics and/or performance information to verify safe operations.
    • Stakeholders, including industry and government, should collaborate to identify appropriate metrics and performance information.
    • AV operators should coordinate with applicable municipalities to determine if there are opportunities for additional data sharing.
  • AV operators should test in Pennsylvania prior to commercial deployment.
  • A level of insurance should be established that provides sufficient coverage, is reasonably priced, and is reasonably available.
  • Existing liability laws and regulations should apply to automated vehicles.
  • AV operators should provide the necessary information for law enforcement and other emergency service responders to identify an AV and to safely address a crash event.
    • Protocols should be established for resuming AV operations in the event of a crash.

Promote Growth - The Commonwealth, AV developers, and other stakeholders should identify and develop ways to promote and enable industry growth in Pennsylvania.


  • Pennsylvania should enact legislation that allows for the safe testing of driverless SAE level 4 and 5 automated vehicles and provides a pathway to commercial deployment. 
    • All appropriate stakeholders should be engaged in the development.
    • Should reflect national best practices when practical.
    • As part of legislation, the general assembly should define the difference between testing and operations.
  • Pennsylvania should enact technology neutral and platform agnostic policies to promote both a diverse set of AV use cases and a level playing field across the industry.
  • Any legislation or policy should be flexible and agile enough to address industry advancements and/or new best practices. 
  • Pennsylvania should explore and permit public-private partnerships to expedite the integration of needed technology into infrastructure and foster the development of equitable and accessibility-based use cases.

Workforce Impacts - Benefits and implications to workforce should be considered when developing AV legislation.


  • A pipeline should be created to make connections between workforce development, industry, and education institutions including K-12, career and technical institutions, and undergraduate institutions.
  • Whenever reasonably possible, automation should supplement, enhance, or fill gaps in existing services and workforce needs.
  • Establish support for individuals and industries at risk of losing jobs due to vehicle automation. 

Equity, Accessibility, and Quality of Life - Automated vehicles have the ability to improve mobility, access, and equity, but could also further disadvantage or marginalize populations. Automated vehicles should strive to address community needs and increase access to desirable mobility and service options.


  • AV operators should identify how accessibility has been designed into their AV solution prior to deployment.
  • AV operators should identify how their AV solution increases equitable access to disadvantaged, low-income, disabled, aging, rural or underserved populations prior to deployment.
  • AV operators should identify how their AV solution advances climate sustainability.
  • AV operators should identify how their AV solution protects vulnerable road users.
  • Personally identifiable information should be managed as confidential data through clear data privacy policies.

Government Responsibilities - As the role of the operator and vehicle technology continue to evolve, the distinction of roles become less clear.  For a successful, uniform deployment of automated vehicles, any ambiguity must be addressed.


  • Clear roles and responsibilities should be identified for the federal, state, and local governments that align with current jurisdiction/governance responsibilities.
    • Guidelines for sustainable operations should be established by the state and/or municipalities.
  • Where federal regulations/standards are absent or voluntary, Pennsylvania should establish policy and/or guidelines for operations in the state.
  • Steps should be taken to ensure consistency and interoperability throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
  • Per Title 75 Chapter 85, PennDOT should continue to be the lead state agency for Highly Automated Vehicles.

Collaboration and Engagement - With the advancement of automated driving systems, public and stakeholder misunderstanding has become a frequent occurrence. Transparency, especially during testing, is important to inform both communities and policy makers and build trust and awareness.


  • AV Operators should be required to inform and engage communities prior to deployment.
  • AV Operators should be required to work with PennDOT and other applicable public sector organizations to ensure consistent statewide messaging.