Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Submits Comments to Bolster USDOT Analysis of AVs’ Workforce Impacts

Contact: Leslie Hayward | 202.461.2364 |

Washington, D.C.—In response to a request for comments from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) on the scope of a Congressionally-requested analysis of the effects of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on the U.S. workforce, SAFE submitted comments in favor of expanding the scope of the OST study.

Amitai Bin-Nun, SAFE’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Innovation, said: “AVs have the potential to save thousands of lives on our roads, improve the efficiency and accessibility of our transportation system, and spur economic development. At the same time, we need to modernize our workforce and facilitate a smooth transition to an AV economy. With the active engagement of policymakers and the private sector, the transition to AVs will benefit all Americans. We are confident that society can equitably address the changes in the workforce while, at the same time, encouraging the significant benefits AVs will bring.

“SAFE is pleased to be working with the department to better understand the workforce implications of AVs and we look forward to collaborating on this crucial policy priority,” Bin-Nun added.

From its analysis of the benefits for the disability community to best practices for responsible AV deployment, SAFE has an extensive background in AV research and policy. This continued in June with the release of America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future, a groundbreaking analysis of the impacts of AV deployment on the U.S. workforce. Conducted by a team of labor and transport economists that included Dr. Erica Groshen, the former Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Dr. Susan Helper, the former Chief Economist at the Department of Commerce, this federally-recognized study was referenced in the OST’s original request for comments.

SAFE made the following recommendations to expand the scope of the study, in order to:

Better understand how AV deployment will impact workers

  • Use a broad range of technological and deployment scenarios with an aim of uncovering the key drivers that determine the impacts of AVs on the workforce, and examining what the future requirements of the workforce could be in these various scenarios.

The macroeconomic effects of AVs

  • Examining where new job growth and labor demand can occur in a diverse array of AV scenarios, understanding how this technology can improve commuting and worker productivity at a local, regional and national level, and understanding the impact of improved safety technology on a range of professions.

Understanding what happens to workers whose industries have changed

  • Studying the career paths of former drivers: what industries they find employment in, the duration of their unemployment, and how their wages change. Learning from other technological advancements that have incorporated the experiences of impacted workers into deployment policies. This approach can help inform the designs of retraining programs.

AVs and their impact on society

  • Include a study that is specific to the transportation needs of the disabled, their geographic distribution and the potential costs of serving this community in a variety of scenarios. The scope of AV impacts should also be extended beyond those in a driving profession, in order to identify where the transitional opportunities are for all parties.

Ensuring collection of the right data

  • Making sure the data is correct for tracking conditions, carrying out optimal research and evaluating all programs related to AVs and the workforce.

Click here to view the comments in full.


About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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