PTIO Supports Transportation Workforce Development Provision in Bipartisan Surface Transportation Investment Act

PTIO_Commerce_Surface Markup_5021


June 16, 2021


The Honorable Maria Cantwell                                  The Honorable Roger Wicker

Chair                                                                                 Ranking Member

Committee on Commerce, Science,                           Committee on Commerce, Science,

& Transportation                                                             & Transportation

United States Senate                                                      United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510                                                   Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chair Cantwell, Ranking Member Wicker, and Members of the Committee:


On behalf of the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO), I write to express support for Section 5021 of the Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021, “Transportation Workforce Development.”  PTIO is appreciative of the provision’s research-based, consensus-driven approach in considering how to prepare the workforce for roles in the intelligent transportation technologies sector, including those specific to autonomous vehicle (AV) technology.


PTIO – whose members include The American Trucking Associations, Daimler, FedEx, Ford, Lyft, Toyota Motor North America, UPS, Waymo, May Mobility, and Locomation AI – was formed in June 2018 with a commitment to advance AV technology in ways that improve quality of life and economic opportunity for all Americans.  Our top priority is to promote policies and programs that prepare workers for new career pathways in the AV ecosystem while ensuring productivity enhancements arising from AVs benefit every American, including those whose jobs may evolve alongside the technology.


As a critical component of the United States’ intelligent transportation system,  AVs will improve the way we connect people, goods, and services, subsequently yielding positive impacts across the economy ranging from job creation to an increase in Gross Domestic Product.[1]  As AV technology continues to develop but is not yet deployed on a widespread basis, lawmakers have the opportunity to pursue policies that allow AV technology to flourish while concurrently engaging industry, academic leaders, educators, workers, and other interested stakeholders to understand what AVs will mean for jobs across occupations as applications of the technology continue to evolve.  Public policies and private sector programs must reflect this understanding to meet their desired objectives.


By directing the National Academy of Sciences to develop an intelligent transportation technologies workforce needs assessment addressing issues related to recruiting, retaining, and developing a skilled workforce pipeline while additionally establishing a working group to develop an implementation plan based on the assessment’s findings, Section 5021 takes a research-based, consensus-driven approach to further our shared goal of identifying effective methods and programs for preparing and empowering Americans to secure opportunities in the intelligent transportation system economy.  We additionally appreciate the section’s acknowledgement that registered apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs are important components to developing a skilled workforce.  However, PTIO urges the working group to consider other quality-assured work-based learning programs outside of the registered apprenticeship space as additional strategies for re-skilling incumbent workers and attracting new talent in the transportation sector.  The National Academy of Sciences and working group should additionally assess curricular development around training Americans for roles in emerging and innovative transportation technologies.


Thank you for your continued leadership on these important issues.  We are eager to continue working with this Committee and others of relevant jurisdiction as we strive to ensure AV technology flourishes in the United States while concurrently pursuing policies and programs that prepare the workforce for the opportunities and changes on the horizon.




Kathryn Branson

Executive Director

Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity




[1] US Department of Transportation, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, “Macroeconomic Impacts of Automated Driving Systems in Long-Haul Trucking,” January 18 2021.