Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News Release

March 7, 2018

MnDOT announces governor’s executive order to create automated and connected vehicles advisory council

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Mark Dayton today issued an executive order to establish a 15-member advisory council to study the opportunities that widespread adoption of automated and connected vehicles could bring to Minnesota. Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle announced the executive order during a news conference at the State Capitol in conjunction with the agency’s demonstration of an automated shuttle bus for legislators.

“Automated vehicle technology is rapidly advancing in Minnesota and around the world,” said Governor Dayton. “This new Advisory Council will help ensure that Minnesota is well-positioned to put this technology to work for the best interests of Minnesotans. I thank Charlie Zelle and Christopher Clark for leading this important new chapter in the development of our transportation future.”

MnDOT began testing the use of an automated shuttle bus in 2017 at MnROAD, MnDOT’s pavement research facility near Albertville. Testing included how the bus operated in snow and ice conditions, at low temperatures and on roads where salt is used. The bus recently provided rides to 1,300 people on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis during Super Bowl 52 week.

“Minnesota offers unique climate and regulatory challenges different from other states currently testing these technologies,” said Zelle. “Benefits of automated vehicle technology include safer roads, reduced congestion, improved fuel efficiency and reduced energy consumption. And, the increased presence of automated vehicles will also mean greater mobility for many in society who are now challenged with transportation.”

Zelle will co-chair the advisory council with Christopher Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The council will consist of 15 appointees with relevant experience in finance, transit, higher education, workforce training, insurance, automotive industry, advocacy, freight, labor and public safety.
It’s an honor to be named to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles,” said Clark. “The way we get around town is evolving, with improving technology, declining costs and new business models driving the future of transportation. Automated vehicles present tremendous opportunities for the state of Minnesota and I look forward to working with our many public and private partners to maximize the benefits that they offer.”

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Ten ex-officio members from various governmental agencies, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, Minnesota Information Technology Services, the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Council on Disability will also serve on the council.

Zelle said the council will recommend policy changes in such areas as transportation infrastructure and network, cyber security and data privacy standards and vehicle registration, driver training, licensing, insurance and traffic regulation. The council will also look at promotion of economic development, business opportunities and workforce preparation and accessibility and equity for all Minnesotans. The council will submit its recommendations to the governor and legislature by Dec. 1, 2018.

People interested in serving on the Advisory Council may apply at the Secretary of State website at https://commissionsandappointments.sos.state.mn.us under Governor’s Advisory Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles.

The executive order also directs MnDOT, the Department of Public Safety and other agencies to establish pilot programs for development and testing of automated and connected vehicles technology and to support safe and effective testing and use in real-life situations to meet industry needs.

“The world of automated and connected vehicles is closer than many people might think,” said Mona Dohman, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. “We need to make sure that these vehicles are safe - and operated safely - on the roads we share. That’s why the Governor’s advisory council is needed to study the opportunities and challenges automated and connected vehicles will present.”

The executive order formally establishes an Interagency Automated and Connected Vehicles Team to ensure interagency coordination, develop cross agency policies and programs, and prepare the state for safe testing and adoption of automated vehicles.