Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Connected and Automated Vehicles

CAV Strategic Plan

MnDOT CAV Strategic Plan

The MnDOT Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) Strategic Plan (PDF) helps the agency prepare for rapidly-emerging changes in transportation. The CAV-X Office collaborated with districts, functional offices and stakeholders to identify 65 short-, medium- and long-term strategies to help the agency plan for advancing technology and mobility trends.

MnDOT’s CAV strategies are strategic investments for transportation organizations and stakeholders, regardless whether the future includes fully driverless vehicles or continues with modest public acceptance of CAV. These strategies are important because they align with agency goals and make practical business sense however the future unfolds.

After its release in July 2019, the MnDOT Strategic Plan will be reviewed every 3 years to help MnDOT achieve its vision of a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment and the economy.

CAV in Minnesota

CAV stands for “connected and automated vehicles.” Connected vehicles communicate with infrastructure, other vehicles, or even other devices such as smartphones. Automated vehicles use computers to take over human driving tasks like steering, braking, and stopping. In Minnesota, CAV also includes trends in electric vehicles and shared mobility. The CAV Strategic Plan addresses these potential impacts on the transportation system, particularly as transportation agencies are challenged with the uncertainty of CAV and future trends.

CAV Strategic Plan Goals

  1. Safety – Support deployment of CAV technology to improve safety and achieve Toward Zero Death (TZD) goals
  2. Efficiency – Harness CAV technology to improve the efficiency of the transportation system for the movement of people, goods, and services
  3. Equity and Accessibility – Use CAV technology to improve transportation equity and accessibility for all Minnesotans
  4. Economic Benefits – Position Minnesota as a place to safely test and deploy CAV in order to accelerate public benefits and encourage workforce and economic development
  5. Trust and Understanding – Engage the public and other stakeholders to build trust and develop understanding of CAV
  6. Readiness – Support MnDOT in preparing the organization to proactively address changes in transportation technology
  7. Sustainability – Emphasize CAV technologies that have the potential to promote environmental and fiscal sustainability

MnDOT’s CAV program approach

CAV-X conducted extensive statewide outreach. Feedback from over 60 meetings with districts, functional offices, local government and stakeholders developed three key themes:

  1. Strategic investment: Make modest strategic investments, recognizing that CAV technology is in its infancy and will change quickly.
  2. Innovation: Question assumptions, embrace new ideas and partners, and remain nimble to shifts in technology in a rapidly changing environment.
  3. Knowledge-sharing: Be transparent with the public and share ideas and lessons learned with peer agencies and the industry at large.

Strategies and recommendations

The CAV Strategic Plan recommends 65 actions take place in the next five years to help MnDOT and transportation stakeholders plan for CAV. The recommendations are grouped in nine focus areas developed around MnDOT’s business, staffing, operational, investment, and other needs.

Capital investment (PDF)

What projects and capital investments should MnDOT be making or stop investing in?

  • Strategically build-out fiber optic and communication infrastructure to support CAV and TSMO
  • Update design standards for truck platooning
  • Pilot pavement marking that support humans and CAV
  • Invest in electric vehicle infrastructure at state facilities

Research and development (PDF)

What should MnDOT research to help advance CAV statewide and nationally?

  • Continue to fund the Minnesota CAV Challenge open, rolling request for proposals
  • Continue investments in connected vehicle test corridors
  • Pilot different communication technologies (DSRC and 5G) and business models to adapt to changing trends

Partnerships (PDF)

How can MnDOT partner with public and private entities to develop a statewide vision for CAV?

  • Continue the I-CAV Team and CAV Advisory Council
  • Conduct statewide CAV workshops to engage the public and solicit feedback to shape future policy
  • Promote industry partnerships

Regulation and policy (PDF)

What law and policy changes are needed to safely prepare for CAV in Minnesota?

  • Authorize the safe testing of automated vehicles
  • Modernize utility laws to support the build-out of CAV communication infrastructure
  • Update data practices laws and retention policies

Operations and maintenance (PDF)

How does CAV impact operations? How do we plan for these changes?

  • Identify CAV data that will improve traffic safety
  • Pilot projects to collect and analyze CAV data
  • Develop strategies to maintain and operate CV infrastructure

Strategic staffing (PDF)

How does MnDOT’s workforce need to change to support CAV technological advancements?

  • Develop an employee engagement plan
  • Identify CAV skill gaps to create a CAV talent pipeline 

Multimodal (PDF)

How does MnDOT engage our modal partners and people who walk and bike to prepare for CAV?

  • Pilot automated transit in greater Minnesota
  • Conduct bicyclist and pedestrian outreach
  • Encourage safe testing of freight technologies

Communications (PDF)

How do we educate the public, legislators and state and local agencies about CAV?

  • Conduct public demonstrations throughout Minnesota
  • Develop CAV public engagement and communication plans that solicit feedback

Long-range planning (PDF)

How does MnDOT’s 20-year plan account for CAV?

  • Review statewide plans to address CAV impacts
  • Provide CAV support to local, regional, and tribal governments