WASHINGTON, DC — TTD President Edward Wytkind will carry the concerns of working people in transportation as an appointed member to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT), which was announced today by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“I am grateful to Secretary Foxx for appointing me and ensuring that the voices of transportation workers will be heard in the deliberations of the advisory committee,” Wytkind said. “Without a doubt we are in unchartered territory as technology innovations accelerate. My job will be to ensure everyone understands what’s at stake for the economy, jobs and safety if transportation automation is propelled forward by wrongheaded or inadequate policies.”
As one of 25 appointed members of the advisory committee — comprised of corporate, nonprofit and academic leaders — Wytkind will help guide and advise the Secretary of Transportation on the federal rules and restrictions that are needed in any transition to automated and connected transportation technologies. Clearly, with substantial business interests represented around the table, a labor voice will be critical to ensure the advisory committee’s pursuits are balanced.
“I won’t be silent on the potential dangers of autonomous technologies, nor will I let our nation’s business and government leaders ignore the massive job losses faced by so many Americans as this technology evolves and is implemented,” Wytkind said. “We will need vigorous safety policies in place before we expose our nation and its communities to these new technologies. The fact remains that there may not be a safe way to deploy some of these technologies to the scale and magnitude that I know many are advocating.”
It is critical for the advisory committee to avoid presenting overly rosy views about the potential of transportation automation technologies while discounting complicated safety challenges or glossing over severe job impacts.
“There is no denying that innovations are coming online every day that will have profound impacts on the future of passenger and freight transportation systems and the workforce at every level,” Wytkind added. “Transportation technology in all its forms must be seen as a tool to enhance safety, service and efficiency, not as a strategy to jettison millions of middle class jobs.”