The Department of Transportation is inviting comments by Sept. 3 on a range of issues related to the safety effects, opportunities, challenges, and impacts of automated transportation in a port environment.

The DOT explains that automation, including automated vehicles, trains, vessels, infrastructure,

and equipment, is increasingly being tested and introduced into the transportation system and that it is therefore interested in engaging in research that may help support strategies to safely implement automated transportation on and around ports. To that end, the DOT is requesting information from state and local agencies; the vehicle, train, vessel, infrastructure, and equipment design, development, and manufacturing industries; the intelligent transportation systems industry; technology developers; related associations; and others to inform potential research projects.

Topics on which the DOT is specifically requesting input include the following.

- existing port plans to automate operations

- obstacles to implementing automation strategies

- ways stakeholders can better support ports’ automation efforts and strategies

- the impact of autonomous/automated systems and transport on freight flows and/or supply chains domestically and globally

- best practices from implementing past or current projects

- related infrastructure needs

- potential impact on port industry workforce

- further research needed to maximize U.S. port capacity and efficiency

- known or anticipated challenges to implementing autonomous/automated technologies

- regulatory or statutory challenges to making autonomous vehicles, trains, vessels, and equipment part of U.S. port operations

- safety standards

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