Emerging Technologies | Baltimore Metropolitan Council

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Emerging Technologies

The BRTB continues to explore a wide array of emerging transportation technologies to understand the impacts and benefits from their ongoing advancements, development and deployment in order to deliver a safer and more efficient transportation system for the Baltimore region. These technologies include connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV/AV), unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAV) and electric vehicles (automotive, truck, bike and scooter), as well as technologies that will provide improved real-time information to drivers and vehicles across the region.

The BRTB coordinates with cities, counties and transportation partners to plan for transportation improvements in the future of the Baltimore region, and is currently undertaking a study to determine how fast-changing models of new mobility can be accommodated within development decisions across the region. The intent is to evaluate the state of the practice and identify new ways to regulate this emerging transportation ecosystem to benefit the users and the providers.

Unmanned Aerial Systems

On December 4, 2018, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council hosted an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Information Exchange Forum which was supported in part by the Maryland State Geographic Information Systems Committee (MSGIC) and KCI Technologies. The event brought together over 150 people interested in learning more about using UAS to support public works and transportation functions. Attendees came from a wide range of institutions including local, state, and federal government, private companies, universities, and non-profits. Presentations are posted online.

The BMC and the BRTB has, and will continue to, host various informal “What’s on Tap” events, inviting a variety of speakers to inform our stakeholders on issues and emerging technologies. The BMC and the BRTB will help our stakeholders stay informed on the latest smart deployment and use of emerging transportation technologies to help us squeeze more value out of our transportation assets, improve our economy and ultimately the quality of life throughout the Baltimore region.

New Mobility

In preparation for the update of the Baltimore Region's Transportation Plan, Maximize 2045, the BRTB hosted the Baltimore Regional New Mobility Transportation Forum in March of 2019, where participants heard about how the significant growth of new services such as ride-share, ride-hail, advancements in electric and alternative powertrains and lighter weight materials, data management and artificial intelligence, and the quest for connected and autonomous vehicle technologies are converging to offer new services and systems for the traveling public. Presentations and an overview can be found online.

Along these lines, one report explored the Regional Potential For New And Shared Mobility.  This report compiled case studies related to New Mobility/Shared Mobility and its potential within several of the region’s contexts; these contexts were identified in partnership with the BRTB Technical Committee. Each of these contexts is experiencing development, redevelopment, or change in a different way. These case studies seek to provide insight as to how regulations, programs, and the development review process might change to help align the arrival or expansion of New Mobility/Shared Mobility services and modes with public goals. This effort attempted to consider a broad cross-section of contexts so that value could be provided across the region and not just in the more densely populated jurisdictions.

A second report is The Role of Development Review in Shared-Use Mobility. This report documents Best Practices which compiles exemplary New Mobility/shared Mobility related policies from around the country, and summarizes the consensus State of the Practice research. In this document, “best practices” refer to practices that may be beneficial to adopt in the regionally-relevant contexts discussed in these case studies.

Preparing for these advancements and new technologies begins with a good understanding of how the emergence of a new ecosystem of mobility could offer the Baltimore region a faster, cheaper, cleaner, safer, more efficient, and more customized travel experience to our citizens and businesses.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

The Maryland Department of Transportation has been active in bringing together all stakeholders in CAV/AV and has created a web page on this topic. BMC works closely with MDOT staff to ensure coordination and streamlining of effort; BMC staff has been actively involved in the State’s CAV Working Group.