Tyler Milligan participated in the recent Texas Technology Task Force meeting hosted by the Texas Department of Transportation. He represented the Dallas-Fort Worth area and gave comment on blockchain in the transportation industry.
As a who’s who of big thinkers in Texas, the meeting included Darran Anderson of TxDOT, Dr. Chris Poe of Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Tom Lambert of Houston METRO, Dr. Michael Walton of University of Texas Center for Transportation Research, and Michael Morris of North Central Texas Council of Governments.
As a formal show of support from the State legislature, Texas Representative Phillips from Grayson County, attended the afternoon sessions.
The meeting included private sector participation from Verizon, Peloton, Lyft, Uber, GM, INRIX, HLDI, USAA, and others for discussion on the development of transportation policy and strategy.
Texas: A USDOT Automated Vehicle Proving Ground
In the morning, the group focused on the Texas’ USDOT designation as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground. Texas is the only state with this status. The Task Force discussed ongoing projects and how to better engage local jurisdictions, State and Federal officials, and private industry to support automated vehicles.
Texas’ Megaregion and Big Data
The Texas megaregion—the triangle of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, and Austin—was the next topic. Freight, a significant factor in fostering GDP growth within Texas, was discussed in the context of UPS rolling out new logistics management systems to better serve asset delivery and storage. The group talked about how private innovation can have unintended public benefits. When UPS better manages its truckloads, it will decrease roadway maintenance costs for TxDOT by reducing the number of trucks and trailers on the road. The discussion covered how data collection and analysis helps public stakeholders better understand their customers. More and better data can mean improved traffic modeling, more efficient live traffic routing, and improved emergency management.
Blockchain and IoT
The Task Force heard from innovators working on blockchain and internet of things solutions for transportation. The discussion covered transportation services as well as developments in car technology. From a more cohesive vehicle ecosystem to blockchain development using ethereum, the task force was presented with very creative problem solving and new ideas.
Weighing Risk and Automated Vehicles
In the afternoon, the Task Force received an update on how the insurance market is analyzing the uptick in vehicle assisted driven technology. The bottom line is that this technology makes us safer. It lays the groundwork for smarter cars, safer roads, and less downtime during rush hour. They understand automated vehicles present unknowns, but the early data shows that we are on the right track to move faster, smarter, safer.
Texas as a Hub for Development
The meeting ended with a two-hour discussion on the key issues we should address to make Texas a hub for development and innovation in the automated vehicle space. It was active and lively, and Representative Phillips was fully supportive of the group’s efforts. The big take-away from the event was that Texas is open for innovation.