September 2022Vol. 30, No. 3

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Automated vehicles: What should local agencies expect?

Vehicle detecting other vehicles on highway

Photo: Shutterstock

As connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology continues to advance, local agencies are seeking guidance on how to prepare and answer questions from elected officials and the public. The Minnesota Local Road Research Board developed an interactive resource guide to help local agencies prepare for and respond to CAV changes. Some questions and answers from the guide follow.

Are pavement marking improvements necessary? What can be done?

Pavement marking needs for CAVs is still an active area of research, and a number of options are being investigated. CAVs may require pavement markings made using different technology or geometry/striping patterns that work better with vision sensors.

Maintenance standards will likely continue to change to adapt to new technology, with required changes to be specified in federal or state updates to the MUTCD.

In the short term, some other small modifications to current practices may be advisable. Starting to collect and/or digitize regular pavement marking quality data on your roads now will likely help ease the transition to newer technologies and will also help with current maintenance/asset management activities. Improving the condition of current pavement markings—for instance, through more frequent repainting—may also help current vehicles with driver-assist systems operate better and help your constituents.

Will CAVs require different signs?

Requirements for changes to static traffic signs are not yet well defined. It is possible that future CAV-compliant signs may require features such as embedded QR codes that are readable with infrared light or other non-visible means.

This is still an active area of research, however, and MnDOT is testing these enhanced signs with partners. In the short term, agencies should make sure traffic signs are clearly visible and have good retroreflectivity

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