Rhode Island Transportation Innovation Partnership
The Rhode Island Transportation Innovation Partnership (TRIP), a collaboration of state and local partners, is shifting the State's surface transportation infrastructure focus beyond just roads and bridges. TRIP sees transportation and mobility as a critical part of an integrated and comprehensive system of communities, infrastructure, land use planning, technology, and the natural environment.
This is a time of disruption and fast-paced change within the transportation sector. Innovation and new technologies, such as connected and highly automated or autonomous vehicles (CAVs), offer us the potential to grow partnerships, improve mobility, build our economy, reduce negative environmental impacts, and benefit the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders. While the new technologies could bring dramatic changes to the transportation system as we know it, integration of these technologies should be carefully planned and well executed to avoid unintended consequences and to yield the most benefits.
Within the TRIP Initiative, we see partnerships, research, and test projects as key components to ensuring a responsible, sustainable, and equitable path forward. With safety as our number one priority, our approach is to create fertile ground in which the private and public sectors can work collaboratively and efficiently to harness innovation for the social and economic benefit of Rhode Islanders.
Therefore, the goals of TRIP are to achieve:
- SAFER TRANSPORTATION: In the long run, autonomous vehicles may have the potential to eliminate many of the human factors that cause traffic fatalities. In the short term, as we transition to this new mode of travel and test them, CAVs must be able to recognize, yield to, and share the road with all users. Cybersecurity must be taken seriously by all parties, from the developers to the users.
- SUSTAINABILITY, FUEL REDUCTION, AND REDUCED CONGESTION: The state will work to ensure that its integration of CAV technology achieves reductions in fuel use and associated carbon emissions, with benefits for human health and the environment. This should include a focus on both the use of fuel-saving technology as well as consideration of vehicles, routes, and service-models with the potential to minimize congestion and fleet footprint while achieving efficient travel options that are responsive to consumer needs and preferences.
- IMPROVED AND EQUITABLE MOBILITY: Integration of new technology should seek to serve a nimble system that adapts to the needs of a broad user base and accommodates a diverse set of needs, reflective of the people of Rhode Island.
- GROWING OUR ECONOMY AND SUPPORTING OUR WORKFORCE: Changes in technology, including autonomous features, have the potential to alter job opportunities in areas ranging from manufacturing to service to fleet operations. As a state, Rhode Island supports training for new career pathways that will help offset any disruptions, encourage new investment, and expand opportunities for our workforce.
- SMART CITIES, DATA MANAGEMENT AND PRIVACY: Our infrastructure can serve as a platform for information-gathering and sharing to improve our systems, expand efficiencies, and allow for connectivity. Data-sharing agreements should be framed to bring benefits to both public sector agencies and private companies, while protecting the privacy of individual users.