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CMU Research Confirms Need for Human Transit Workers on any AV Technology for Public Transit

Human transit workers are needed to supervise, manage and maintain vehicles and ensure safety with any autonomous vehicle technology for public transportation, according to a new report from Traffic21, a transportation research institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). 

“This report by CMU confirms what we have been saying when there is talk about any new technology – there is no substitute for experienced transit workers. Our members know best about the hazards that occur on the road and the current challenges that operators face every single day,” said International President John Costa. “We know the safety concerns that come with automated vehicles, and now, we can conclude that human interaction will be necessary to keep our roads and rails safe.”

The report states that “even with safety-enhancing technologies in place, there remains a need for operators on board to scan for latent hazards or threats to safety that aren’t immediately visible to the system or the driver, but that may be predictable to an experienced operator.”


Why Unions Need to Be at the Table 

The report also finds that more information is needed to implement more advanced automation technology safely and calls for the inclusion of frontline workers, our members, and their unions to analyze hazards properly. 

“Our members are the eyes and ears on the streets and rails, and they know transit and safety better than anyone,” Costa said.