New York — WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff released a guide for state, regional and local government officials in responding to the infrastructure and policy changes that the advent of driverless vehicles will require.

“Driverless vehicles are already being road tested across the country, and it’s clear that state and local government officials need to prepare for their inevitable widespread presence on our roadways,” said John Porcari, president of U.S. advisory services for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. “This guide is part of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s ongoing effort to advise state and local governments on emerging transportation technologies, including connected and partially automated vehicles, as well as fully driverless vehicles.”

The guide, titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies,” was researched and written by Lauren Isaac, manager of sustainable transportation at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and the firm’s William Barclay Parsons Fellow for 2015.

“Driverless vehicles have the potential to change all aspects of mobility – from driver safety and insurance liability to car ownership and how Americans commute—and could disrupt both public and private transportation as we know it,” said Ms. Isaac. “Driverless vehicles will likely have a huge impact on our future; however, it is the government’s actions (now and in the future) that will determine how they are integrated into society and if the impacts are largely positive or negative. The intent of this guide is to outline the role of government in the integration of driverless vehicles in society and present the information that local and regional governments need to inform planning and decision-making, now and in the future.”

The guide offers an overview of emerging driverless technologies and examines how the introduction of driverless vehicles on the nation’s roads will impact future infrastructure planning and development. It addresses the government’s current role in driverless vehicles and proposes what needs to be done to accommodate the evolution of driverless vehicles in the near, medium, and long term. Recommendations are also made for the myriad of policies that must be addressed as part of the planning process.

“Driverless vehicles are coming, with or without government involvement, and there is no question that they will have a significant impact on society, potentially changing how we approach all aspects of life,” said Ms. Isaac. “Government at all levels has the opportunity to proactively establish goals and policies that can continue to support the driverless vehicle revolution while keeping the traveling public safe and mobile. If successful, the U.S. experience could be a model for other countries.”

Ms. Isaac is WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s project manager for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s 511 Rideshare Program in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked in the transportation industry for 13 years and is currently leading various projects to improve mobility in cities. Ms. Isaac has a master of engineering degree in operations research and industrial engineering and a bachelor of science degree in the same discipline from Cornell University.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has been at the forefront of the development and testing of transportation infrastructure for driverless and connected vehicles, and is currently advising transportation agencies on the development of infrastructure to accommodate connected, automated and driverless vehicles. It served as infrastructure lead for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s connected vehicle safety pilot program and was a partner in developing connected/automated vehicle infrastructure technology for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s connected corridor initiative.