– Today, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on legislation drafted by Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver/Butler) that would allow PennDOT to authorize the operation of an autonomous shuttle vehicle on an approved route.
Testifiers at the hearing included representatives from PennDOT, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Hershey Entertainment and the Automated Vehicle Coalition. All were supportive of the bill, citing benefits to the state’s economy, job market and transportation safety.
Leslie Richards, PennDOT secretary, explained, “Shuttles can be used to enhance existing transit services by providing first/last mile connections. Shuttles can supplement existing services during periods of high demand and outside normal hours of operation. Shuttles can support underserved communities where it is cost prohibitive to implement traditional mass transit services.”
Currently, a driver is required to operate a vehicle on all public roads. The legislation would help to create a complete transportation system that serves all users.
“House Bill 1078
would enhance existing transit options and allow Pennsylvania to be a leader in technology and mobility,” Marshall said.
Richards also testified, “Low speed automated shuttles have been deployed, or are in the process of being deployed, in over 20 states, including neighboring states such as Ohio, Maryland and New York. Shuttles have been utilized on college campuses, in central business districts, between corporate campuses, in underserved neighborhoods and even at the Super Bowl.”
“By passing House Bill 1078 and others like it, Pennsylvania can continue its role as a leader in the use of advanced technology to save lives through improved transportation safety and creating a world-leading economic development,” added Eric Rensel, vice president of Gannett Fleming on behalf of the Automated Vehicle Coalition.
House Bill 1078 is expected to go before the House Transportation Committee for review.
Representative Jim Marshall
Pennsylvania House of Representatives