Policy and Planning Opportunities of Self-Driving Vehicles

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    Policy and Planning Opportunities of Self-Driving Vehicles
    (2017-09) Douma, Frank
    The "future" of self-driving vehicles is quickly becoming reality. As these technologies make their way into the vehicles that get us from point A to point B, they are beginning to disrupt not only the way we think about transportation, but the way we relate to the built environment and organize the way we live. As planners and policymakers, we need to consider how to best take advantage of these changes: can we eliminate distracted driving, traffic congestion, and expensive parking? Will we be able to maintain an independent lifestyle later into life? Will we feel the need to own our own car? Can we adapt our land use to allow these changes to happen? Frank Douma, Director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, considers these questions.
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    Legal Accelerators and Brakes for Deployment of Automated Vehicles
    (Springer International Publishing, 2015) Stanley, Karlyn D.; Partridge, Ellen; Douma, Frank
    This chapter will review three questions that prompted significant discussion at the 2014 Symposium on Vehicle Automation sponsored by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) as potential accelerators or brakes for deployment of automated vehicles: (1) Where are uniform laws needed? (2) What deployment will come first and will it be evolutionary or revolutionary? (3) How should tests be devised for ratings or certification? Participants in the “Legal Accelerators and Brakes” session noted that the legal environment does not appear to be the obstacle, or “brake” to autonomous vehicle deployment that many fear it will be. Greater uniformity in operational laws, such as tailgating and distracted driving, as well as in safety testing standards, could potentially accelerate deployment. Participants in the session concluded that key privacy and security questions will be informed by legal developments that are not unique to driving.
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    The Legal Obligations, Obstacles, and Opportunities for Automated and Connected Vehicles to Improve Mobility and Access for People Unable to Drive
    (Michigan State Law Review, 2017) Douma, Frank; Lari, Adeel; Andersen, Kory
    In recent decades, several legislative and regulatory mandates, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, “United We Ride” initiative, and Olmstead court decision, have been issued in attempt to improve mobility and access for those who are unable to drive. Yet despite these well-intentioned and continuing efforts, our current transportation system does not fully address these disparities. Self-driving vehicles (SDVs) present an opportunity to address these disparities by providing a level of transportation access for people unable to drive that our current transportation system cannot. Yet, even though nearly every automobile manufacturer and several major technology companies are developing SDVs and related technologies, researchers and policymakers are pointing out that more work is needed if the promise of increased mobility and access is to be fulfilled. For example, the National Council on Disability noted in November 2015 that because of the development pace and “proprietary nature of its engineering,” the explicit details of how designers and manufacturers” are ensuring equitable access for disabled and low-income individuals has nearly been non-existent. This Article will address the legal obligations, opportunities, and obstacles facing SDV technologies in this arena by articulating some of the specific challenges and questions that must be addressed. Questions such as what SDV deployment will look like, rider safety, vehicle design for wheelchair and disabled users, and the evolving role of policymakers in creating opportunities for this population will be discussed. Without answers to these questions, our ability to create an equitable transportation system through SDV technology will be limited.
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    The SDVs Are Coming! An Examination of Minnesota Laws in Preparation for Self-Driving Vehicles
    (Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, 2015) Peck, Spencer; Fatehi, Leili; Douma, Frank; Lari, Adeel
    Self-driving vehicles (SDVs) are predicted to be the future of automotive transportation. The significant potential benefits of SDVs to safety, congestion reduction, land use, and productivity are hard to ignore. Although fully automated vehicles are still a ways away, the technology is rapidly advancing and becoming more legally accepted. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all newly manufactured cars to have at least a low-level of autonomous vehicle technology and suggests widespread adoption of more advanced technology by 2020. Four states and the District of Columbia have some form of legislation expressly allowing SDVs or the testing of such vehicles within state boundaries. In fact, two states—California and Nevada—have even issued comprehensive regulations for both private use and testing of SDVs. Several companies, most notably Google, are aggressively pursuing the technology and advocating for legal changes in support of SDVs. But what does this all mean for Minnesota drivers, laws and lawmakers, and local economies? This Article explores the development of SDVs and related technology and how states have responded to this development as context for more substantive discussion about why and how Minnesota might move to adopt and adapt to this transformative technology. Specifically, this Article will explore how current laws may already permit SDVs and how the law could be, or in some cases must be, modified to authorize testing and use of SDVs in the state. Finally, this Article will describe why SDVs and the related legal changes needed to support their development and adoption can greatly benefit Minnesota’s citizens and economy.
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    Self-Driving Vehicles and Policy Implications: Current Status of Autonomous Vehicle Development and Minnesota Policy Implications
    (Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2015) Leri, Adeel; Douma, Frank; Onyiah, Ify
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    Criminal Liability Issues Created by Autonomous Vehicles
    (Santa Clara Law Review, 2012-12-13) Douma, Frank; Aue Palodichuk, Sarah