The second of a special three-part series of Transportation Connects Us, the official podcast of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, three Midwest state transportation chiefs discussed how the pace of innovation in transportation is accelerating due to the advent of new technologies – from data-driven traffic management systems to automated vehicles.
[Above image via the Wisconsin DOT.]
“When we talk about connected and automated vehicle technology, people want to know when driverless cars are coming,” explained Craig Thompson, secretary-designee for the Wisconsin DOT.
“But that’s not everything that connected and automated vehicle technology is, and it’s already here,” he added on the podcast. “There’s a lot of this technology that’s improving safety right now, and the auto manufacturers are implementing this technology in their vehicles. It’s coming. And so, this area is one where collaboration among states really will pay dividends.”
Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman and Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation Margaret Anderson Kelliher joined Thompson – who also currently serves as president of the Mid America Association of Transportation Officers – on the podcast.
“The ability for us to virtually gather and share information and research has been important,” noted Anderson Kelliher, who chairs MAASTO’s Connected and Automated Vehicle Committee.
“But I think the really critical part is safety. I mean, the reason this technology is important is that this is the future of safety and transportation,” she explained.
“What we will have in the future is really multiple multimodal platforms that are going to be able communicate with each other, and there’s no place better for testing these types of technologies then in states like ours that have all four season,” Anderson Kelliher said.
“Technology is rapidly changing how society views transportation, making the work we do leading state departments of transportation perhaps more important than ever,” Osman added. “By partnering and working together, MAASTO states are in an ideal position to learn from each other, step into a leadership role and help chart a future for the country.”