Research Projects



METRANS Sponsors Students to Attend UCLA Automated Mobility Forum

Saturday, May 6, 2017

by By Meiduo Ji, USC Price MPL 2018


On April 13th, the 10th Annual UCLA Downtown Los Angeles Forum was held at the California Endowment Center, focusing on practical limitations and concerns of connected and automated vehicle technology. The forum was composed of four sections addressing the difficult choices and possible strategies that public policy makers interacting with private industry will have to make. Ten different speakers from both the public and private sectors presented a mix of practice and research, and the audience experienced a thought-provoking event and METRANS sponsored the attendance of local transportation students. I was one of those fortunate students.

The first section, “How Connected and Automated Technologies May Shape our Future,” was presented by Lauren Isaac from EasyMile. Isaac is the manager of Sustainable Transportation for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and is the firm’s William Barclay Parsons Fellow for 2015. Her presentation was based on her article “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide For Government Agencies.”

The next section focused on practical concerns and questions related to the abundance of new technology in the area of automated vehicles. Three speakers shared their perspectives, each from different angles. Chris Ganson from the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research discussed the future of autonomous vehicles from the point of vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions; Susie Pike, from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies shared her research regarding “Getting the policies in place to support the triple revolution.” “Triple revolution” refers to the technology revolution in shared, autonomous, and electric vehicles. Maya Buenaventura from RAND Corporation focused on “Tort law and vehicle automation.”

The theme of the third section was “Preparing our expectations for travelers and the network,” focusing on investment issues related to how the public sector prepares for the upgrades to traffic signals and other roadside equipment.  The slides of three speakers are listed below.

The event concluded with a discussion between three leaders in the field (Ashley Hand from CityFi, Corinne Kisner from NACTO, and Lauren Issac from EasyMile) about how connected and automated vehicle technology can be interwoven into the future visions for Los Angeles and cities across the United States.

Biying Zhao, a USC Price transportation student, attended the event with the support of METRANS and was grateful for the opportunity to attend. “The development of autonomous vehicle technology does delight our future but I learned that there is still much work to be done for all of the urban planners, because the innovation in transportation will also bring us a series of new problems,” she shared. “The most important thing is that the innovation of AVs is the replacement of one set of problem with another set of problems and one really hopes that the newest problems can be smaller than the old ones.”


Panel: Veronica Siranosian, Sam Morrissey and Eric Shaw. Moderator: Juan Matute

(Photo by Meiduo Ji)


About the Author:

Meiduo Ji is a first-year Master of Planning student at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Her concentration is transportation planning and transportation engineering. She also has a GIS and Map Design background. She can be reached at [email protected].