Washington, DC – Today the Eno Center for Transportation released Adopting and Adapting: States and Automated Vehicle Policy. The report provides a guidebook for states as they consider adopting policies to foster the safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles (AVs) on their roads.

States have traditionally been responsible for planning, regulating, and managing roads as well as assigning liability and insurance for motor vehicles. However, the advent of automated vehicle technology is redefining this structure. Many states are adapting their policy frameworks to prepare for AVs and preserve the safety of road users. This response has led to a patchwork of varying policies and regulations.

Eno’s report examines three primary concerns for state governments: regulations, infrastructure investment and funding, and research and workforce training. The report explores the state of AV technology, reviews existing policies, and establishes actionable recommendations for states around the country.

“Thoughtful policymaking in the early stages of automated vehicle development will help the safe and seamless deployment of these vehicles, no matter where they are operating,” said Robert Puentes, President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation. “This report provides specific action items for state governments and departments of transportation that will help create sound and consistent policy across state lines.”

The report emphasizes that enacting legislation or taking regulatory action on AVs will not necessarily attract or deter AV developers to a given state. While AV testing has historically been concentrated in Michigan and on the West Coast, policymakers can begin to adapt their policy frameworks to reduce regulatory uncertainty and encourage the safe adoption of AVs in their states.

Specifically, Eno recommends that states should assign crash liability to the entity (whether human or machine) that is responsible for the driving task if there is an at-fault collision. Additionally, AV developers should assume full liability in the case of a crash during testing.

The report calls for researching the implementation of an AV miles-traveled fee. This fee could create new revenue streams to support state transportation infrastructure, while also encouraging the responsible use of AVs on public roadways.

In order to proactively address potential worker displacement due to automation, Eno also recommends creating partnerships between universities and the private sector to implement targeted retraining or career development programs.

The entire report can be viewed here and the state AV checklist can be downloaded here.


About the Eno Center for Transportation

The Eno Center for Transportation is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that promotes policy innovation and leads professional development in the transportation industry. As part of its mission, Eno seeks continuous improvement in transportation and its public and private leadership in order to improve the system’s mobility, safety, and sustainability.

Eno’s Digital Cities project is a multi-part research and outreach effort intended to provide a resource for policymakers to understand the technological forces that are shaping our transportation networks.


Alexander Laska