July 25, 2019 3:45 PM, EDT

Advancing New Technologies a Priority for USDOT Leadership, OMB Official Says

Autonomous concept U.S. Department of Transportation

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The U.S. Department of Transportation under the Trump administration has devoted significant resources to the transformative arena of autonomous vehicle technology, a former DOT official said at the Brookings Institution on July 25.

Federal grants as well as regulatory guidance are used to help stakeholders develop systems and infrastructure crucial for the technology’s eventual mainstream deployment, said Derek Kan, formerly DOT’s Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, who recently shifted to an executive role at the Office of Management and Budget.

“For [the] better part of 50 years we were focused on existing transportation modes. However, we moved basic existing transportation services to new technologies,” Kan told a group at the Washington-based think tank.

Derek Kan


RoadSigns: A Transport Topics podcast


In our second episode of RoadSigns, we ask: How will the next levels of automation be deployed? Hear a snippet from Chuck Price, vice president of product at TuSimple, above, and get the full program by going to

In February, DOT noted it is “acting as a convener and facilitator, partnering with a broad coalition of industry, academic, state and local, safety advocacy, and transportation stakeholders to support the safe development, testing and deployment of automated vehicle technology.”

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) indicated he was collaborating with fellow members of the Commerce Committee to craft a bill that would establish guidelines for the deployment of autonomous vehicle technology.

During a hearing last month, the senator said, “We truly are living in very exciting times and the types of technological change that we’re going to see in the years ahead are truly transformational.”

Proponents argue the technology has the potential to boost safety along corridors, enhance the flow of freight and provide transportation needs for disabled individuals.