Document Type


Publication Date

February 1996

Publication Title

PATH Research Report


Automated Highway Systems (AHS), Evolutionary Path, Deployment Issues, Initial User Service, Shuttle Van


Industrial Engineering | Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering | Systems Engineering


The concept of automated highway system (AHS) was motivated primarily by its potential for large capacity and safety gains without requiring significant right-of-way acquisition. However, highway automation involves a multitude of design options as well as systems issues. Compounded by the crucial dimension of evolving the current highway system towards the mature AH& there exist a large number of possible evolutionary paths to AHS. Perhaps due to the immense complexity, little attention has been paid to the evolution dimension.Particularly important and difficult in defining a deployment sequence is the very first step,i.e. the first user service involving fully automated (hands-off and feet-off) freeway driving. However, this importance and difficulty imply that many factors may severely constrainthe initial deployment target and there many not be many choices. It is this observation and the approaching congressional mandate (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 or ISTEA for short) to demonstrate the viability of AHS through a prototype in 1997 that motivated the focus of this paper on initial AHS deployment.After discussing the paramount importance of the initial AHS deployment, this paper points out major categories of high-level issues and constraints involved in initial AHS deployment. The strategy for the initial deployment is crucial because it must be able to not only set the stage for further technological development but also ensure continued public interest and support for AHS. Any realistic deployment strategy must take into consideration of gradual technology maturation, introduction of new driver role and diminishing conventional driver role for automated driving, high cost of early-generation automated vehicles, gradual infrastructure modification, gradual commitment of automakers to manufacture and service automated vehicles, gradual commitment of insurance industry to carry liability, and gradual acceptance by the interest groups and the general public, particularly in terms of user service, safety, cost and environment impact.This paper then proposes a shuttle van service as the initial deployment AHS target. The freeway portion of the trip is fully automated and a professional driver is required for off-freeway driving. We then discuss its many advantages from the view point of deployment issues aforementioned. Some possible issues of this initial deployment strategy and areas of future research will also be pointed out. This papers focuses on the concept definition. Feasibility issues and cost-benefit require further study.We believe that this initial deployment has a good chance of leading to a successful long-term AHS deployment supported by the general public. In addition, it could be a good candidate for the 1997 AHS demonstration required by ISTEA. After such a successful initial deployment, insights into and experience with such a AHS, together with public opinions, can be used to determine the future directions and phases of further AI-IS development, including a passenger-vehicle-oriented AHS, a transit-oriented AHS and a system that accommodates multiple major groups of vehicles.Recently, Bishop et al. argued for the necessity to include moving people, as opposed to moving just vehicles, as an additional performance objective for AHS. The service category of shuttle van proposed in this paper as the target for initial AHS deployment is consistent with this new objective.


This work was performed as part of the California PATH Program of the University of California, in cooperation with the State of California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, Department of Transportation; and the United States Department Transportation, Federal Highway Administration.The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors who are responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the State of California. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.This report is also available at this link.