Transportation Technology Campaign Newsletter
April 13, 2022
If you see or hear about new technologies or services, please send us an email, TransportationTech@twu.org
Less than 1 in 5 Americans Think Autonomous Vehicles Are Safer
As the autonomous vehicle lobby spends billions trying to place us in robotic vehicles, the public isn’t buying it. Less than 1 in 5 Americans polled think they’re safer in driverless cars than in regular vehicles, compared to more than 1 in 4 about four years ago. As these cars equipped with automated driving features crash with frequency and as their limitations become apparent, public acceptance is collapsing.
“The public’s skepticism about the safety of autonomous vehicles is completely warranted,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “These robotic cars crash at a higher rate than regular cars. The public clearly agrees with us and we’re committed to making sure that no matter the level of automation achieved passengers aren’t forced onto autonomous transit buses and vans without skilled operators.”
On-Demand, Autonomous TX Transit Project Aims to ‘Remove the Human Operator’
Arlington RAPID, or Rideshare, Automation and Payment Integration Demonstration, plans to expand its on-demand, autonomous transit service in a partnership that involves the city, University of Texas Arlington, private mobility company Via and autonomous vehicle maker May Mobility.
“One of the things we’re aiming to do in our next deployment is work on some of the items to remove the human operator,” said Ann Foss, a principal planner in the Office of Strategic Initiatives in Arlington, Texas. A Via official bragged: “RAPID has proven that AV programs can be successfully integrated into existing mass transit systems, where they support city residents with their basic daily mobility needs.”
“This is exactly why TWU has launched a national campaign to put a spotlight on the agenda of technology companies who are aggressively pushing to seize the public transit market,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “This is an example of public sector officials being fooled into believing that these unproven AV technologies should be unleashed on our roads with passengers being left to fend for themselves without a driver. We will fight that vision for transit – it is unsafe, it eliminates service to the most vulnerable passengers who need our support, and it threatens good union jobs.”
TWU Moves Aggressively to Reform US DOT Tech Oversight Policies
In comments filed with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, TWU is taking aim at a Trump-era relic inside the DOT, the so-called NETT Council, that was set up by the Trump Administration to permit transportation technology companies to “sidestep” the agency’s safety oversight.
TWU argues that the DOT must reform the main purposes of the NETT Council to ensure the pursuit of new technologies like autonomous vehicles does not undermine “existing standards” or “fast track unsafe or job-destroying projects.” TWU also warned that if the agency doesn’t change how it reviews and regulates emerging technology, the end result could be “a race to the bottom for oversight.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
FedEx CEO: we’re making ‘an enormous effort’ toward AV trucks, CNBC
Waymo now offering SF rides without a driver, Motor Authority
TTD joins TWU in pushing for NETT Council reforms