1997-02-24

Where the Rubber Consorts with the Road: Observations on the Consortium Approach to Automated Highway System Transportation Research 970450

The two major transportation industries of America, automobile manufacturing and highway building, have coexisted for a century. Now, more is being asked of this partnership. A growing population that desires a growing economy is confidently predicting the need to make more trips but is not satisfied with the vision of building more roads and highways on which to make them, nor are they satisfied with their safety while on the road. The challenge is improve safety and use more efficiently what we have already built: Hence the USDOT's strategy: to apply automation technology advances to both the vehicles and the highway - and, most importantly, to integrate the two into a vehicle-highway system. Further, to bring about this merger of industries within a framework specifically designed to invite and utilize the participation of all stakeholders interested in this national investment. This paper revisits the original USDOT rationale for bringing the National Automated Highway System Consortium into being, and then joining it in cooperation as one among equal members. This paper revisits the original USDOT rationale for a consortium approach and, two years after NAHSC was established, examines both the value and the challenges of such a partnership in conducting long-range, high-risk research, and particularly, research which involves multiple industries and institutions.In short, the consortium approach is working. It is also evolving as the contributions of the numerous stakeholders are reflected in refinements to the program goals and consortium processes. It is a very productive partnership, even in the face of funding instability..

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