Post List

  • Infrastructure Finance for the Public Good: How Asset Recycling Can Untangle the New York MTA’s $50 Billion Debt Load

    Abstract Systematic infrastructure underinvestment – a $2.6 trillion ‘gap’ – and accelerating climate change have become facts of life in the United States. Though typically attributed to politics, this Article posits the circumstances as a market disequilibrium rooted in an interplay between unique dimensions of infrastructure and distinctive features of…
  • How Might We Reimagine Transportation Technology to Combat Forced Labor: Conference Explanations and Recommendations From the Law and Mobility Program’s Annual Conference 2023

    Introduction The University of Michigan Law School’s Law and Mobility Program (LAMP), a resource for scholarship about the legal implications of emerging transportation technology with a particular focus on connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), hosts an annual conference. The topic of the LAMP Annual Conference 2023 considered how…
  • Setting the Agenda: The Legal and Historical Context to Best Understand How Transportation Technology Might Be Regulated to Combat Forced Labor

    Transportation is a piece of all human activity. As individuals and as a society, the logistics of getting people and goods from one place to another is a question we answer countless times a day. Just today, billions of people drove to work, took the bus to school, used a rideshare to get to the store, or took the train into the city to enjoy an evening out on the town. This list does not even consider all the items people have ordered online which will be shipped and delivered to homes. Even more exciting is the innovation that inspired all the aforementioned modes of transportation; transportation technology has the amazing potential to make our lives easier, more efficient, and more equitable. But implementing all this technology requires labor, and the technology can only benefit those who have access to it. Most of us have never truly considered whose labor makes mobility possible. Relatedly, it is hard to imagine life without access to transportation if you are a person who has always known how they will get to work. This article will provide a framework to better understand one type of labor within the industry, exploited labor, also known as forced labor. Forced labor is part of the transportation industry and is also impacted by a lack of transportation. Without reliable and safe transportation individuals are at a higher risk of forced labor in other industries. The bottom line is twofold: considering the impacts that an increased demand for new technology will have on people who work in mines, in the supply chain, and in transportation as a service, as well as considering legal tools to maximize access to transportation for historically underserved communities in light of new technology. All this to say that this article will consider how society might reimagine the regulation of emerging transportation technology in a way that combats the systemic vulnerability that leaves people at risk of forced labor. This will include both the labor being performed to manufacture and operate the technology, as well as the impact on access to transportation of the user and nonuser. Though this article will largely analyze the role of automated vehicles, other innovations including reconfigured public transportation and electrification will also be considered. Transportation is at the heart of everything humanity does and yet this article will only scratch the surface of these issues.
  • Contracting Tools for Transportation Data

    Troves of transportation data can be, and are, produced by smart infrastructure. Municipalities collect various kinds of transportation data, including traffic information such as accidents, flows, and volumes; bicycle information such as bike counts; pedestrian information such as pedestrian counts; smart bus stop information; street mapping information; location information for traffic signals; mapping details such as the miles of city streets; and information on roadwork and infrastructure planning such as construction or road closures expected to affect traffic. Governments, educational institutions, non-profit enterprises, and businesses find transportation data useful for purposes such as improving infrastructure, reducing traffic congestion, improving vehicle and pedestrian safety, providing public security and emergency services, making transportation services more accessible, improving civic planning and design, research and development of new mobility products and services (including machine learning), and researching other potential uses for the data. Wider availability and sharing of transportation data would help to facilitate the development, testing, and adoption of smart infrastructure and connected and automated modes of transportation (collectively, “smart mobility products and services”). However, there are barriers to the accessibility of transportation data for these purposes. One is that there is a lack of standardization and clarity in the permissions granted when transportation data is made available, and another is that privacy and other concerns prevent much of the data that could be useful from being made available; an example of the latter is the discontinuation of a smart streetlights project in San Diego due to concerns about the potential use of transportation data for surveillance purposes. This paper explores license provisions and contracting tools that data providers can consider using when making transportation data publicly available. Part II describes the kinds of provisions that data providers typically include in the licenses or other terms and conditions that they apply to transportation data. Part III examines the agreements under which specific municipalities in four states (Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona) make transportation data publicly available, including pursuant to template agreements. Part IV identifies additional template agreements that are available for use by data providers when making data publicly available. Finally, Part V sets out key considerations for data providers in choosing the terms under which they make their transportation data available.
  • Opportunities and Challenges for Deploying Connected and Automated Vehicles to Address Transportation Disparities in Urban Areas

    As the development and testing of connected and automated vehicles (CAV) accelerates, it is important for government stakeholders, planners, and policymakers to have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities CAVs will bring to infrastructure, communities, and lifestyles. There is general consensus among scholars and transportation practitioners that CAV will “disrupt” transportation systems, land use patterns, and socioeconomic power structures as they exist today.The implications of CAV on transportation infrastructure have been the subject of numerous academic and professional studies, suggesting both positive and negative effects may occur. Furthermore, in an American context, transportation planning has historically contributed to the vast socioeconomic and racial inequities still seen today, so particular emphasis should be given to the potential for CAV development to compound equity issues. Regardless, the rapid development of CAV technology has led to a compressed timeline for planners and policymakers to put policies, plans, and infrastructure into place to prepare for the mainstreaming of CAVs, and the evolution of the current transportation system. In order to identify strategic ways to leverage CAV to best support communities of all scales, researchers at the University of Minnesota have gathered information from community members and stakeholders across the state. Building on previous research and community discussions surrounding CAV opportunities in Greater Minnesota, this project sought to understand the needs of transportation disadvantaged communities that have limited access to transportation due to level of income, ability, or service extent, and explores whether CAV could be an appropriate solution. This research particularly focused on such communities in the “East Metro” of the Twin Cities, with particular focus given to the east side of Saint Paul, downtown, and Frogtown areas. Much of the equity-related research conducted in the Twin Cities metropolitan area is focused on Minneapolis, and there is a relative gap in the literature for evaluating transportation challenges of the East Metro. Transportation is undoubtedly an issue for everyone, but these challenges are most difficult for individuals with limited access to transportation due to income, ability, or extent of service area. CAVs have the potential to mitigate some of these transportation challenges, but the policy measures discussed in this paper should be considered to ensure that CAV deployment does not recreate or exacerbate the inequities of today's transportation system.
  • Exceptional Driving Principles for Autonomous Vehicles

    Public expectations for automated vehicles span a broad range, from mobility for passengers, to road user safety, to compliance with the traffic code. In most ordinary situations, these expectations can be satisfied simultaneously. But these various expectations can also lead to exceptional scenarios where certain objectives, such as those related to safety, are in tension with road rules. Exceptional driving scenarios challenge motion planning algorithms in automated vehicles to find solutions that are legally grounded, ethically sound, and technically feasible. The general public’s familiarity with exceptional driving scenarios comes from the classic "Trolley Car" problem in philosophy, asking who should live and who should die in an unavoidable collision. These discussions tend to take a consequentialist view by framing the ethical action as the one that achieves the best outcome. By taking a different perspective that views driving as a social contract, the AV's ethical obligations are limited to meeting the duty of care owed to other road users. With this perspective, the existing legal system in the US provides a framework for choosing appropriate behaviors in exceptional driving cases and for answering the Trolley Car problem. This work outlines principles that prioritize care for humans, respect the authority of human-defined traffic law, and ensure that the vehicle avoids decisions that introduce unreasonable risks. Developing AVs that can legally and ethically negotiate exceptional driving scenarios is simply a matter of translating the principles into engineering requirements with no need for new laws or endless philosophical debate.
  • The Relationship Between Social Innovation and Active Mobility Public Services

    This article aims to discuss the relationship between social innovation and public services on active mobility. Two active mobility initiatives are considered in the city of São Paulo, and analyzed based on 11 variables that characterize social innovation. Through the mapping of recent Brazilian regulatory frameworks for active mobility and a low-carbon economy, we can propose the following relationship: the more local (municipal) the public policy, the greater its social influence and participation. However, despite the advances indicated by both experiences of active mobility analyzed (highlighting the role of organized civil society), and by the progress in the regulatory framework, until now innovative practices in the local context have been restricted to the treatment of pedestrian spaces. Therefore, there exists a great potential for the continued introduction of innovations in the improvement and scale of public services for pedestrian mobility, following the paradigm of sustainable urban mobility, and based on social participation.
  • Innovation in a Legal Vacuum: The Uncertain Legal Landscape for Shared Micro-mobility

    By David Pimentel, Michael B. Lowry, Timothy W. Koglin, and Ronald W. Pimentel The last few years have seen an explosion in the number and size shared micro-mobility systems (“SMMS”) across the United States. Some of these systems have seen extraordinary success and the potential benefit of these systems to communities is considerable. However, SMMS have repeatedly ran into legal barriers that either prevent their implementation entirely, confuse and dissuade potential users, or otherwise limit SMMS’s potential positive impact.
  • How Reporters Can Evaluate Automated Driving Announcements

    This article identifies a series of specific questions that reporters can ask about claims made by developers of automated motor vehicles (“AVs”). Its immediate intent is to facilitate more critical, credible, and ultimately constructive reporting on progress toward automated driving. In turn, reporting of this kind advances three additional goals. First, it encourages AV developers to qualify and support their public claims. Second, it appropriately manages public expectations about these vehicles. Third, it fosters more technical accuracy and technological circumspection in legal and policy scholarship.
  • Re(Writing) the Rules of The Road: Reflections from the Journal of Law and Mobility’s 2019 Conference

    On March 15th, 2019, the Journal of Law and Mobility, part of the University of Michigan’s Law and Mobility Program, presented its inaugural conference, entitled “(Re)Writing the Rules of The Road.” The conference was focused on issues surrounding the relationship between automated vehicles (“AVs”) and the law. In the afternoon, two panels of experts from academia, government, industry, and civil society were brought together to discuss how traffic laws should apply to automated driving and the legal person (if any) who should be responsible for traffic law violations. The afternoon’s events occurred under a modified version of the Chatham House Rule, to allow the participants to speak more freely. In the interest of allowing those who did not attend to still benefit from the day’s discussion, the following document was prepared. This document is a summary of the two panels, and an effort has been made to de-identify the speaker while retaining the information conveyed.