ADS for Rural America

While Automated Driving Systems (ADS) technologies bring the promise of even greater safety on the Nation’s roadways, rural roads are underrepresented in ADS research today. To date, due to the complexity of rural environments, most manufacturers have focused in mapping and testing on urban, clearly-marked roads. But mobility is essential to rural America, particularly in isolated areas. Additionally, a relatively large and growing portion of rural and small-town residents are older Americans. As the Nation’s population exponentially ages over the next few decades and Americans continue their desire to “age in place” (continuing to live in their own home regardless of age, income, or ability level), increased rural mobility options will be to simply maintain and, ideally, improve the safety on these roadways. ADS for Rural America developed three major goals in addressing these issues and challenges: (1) Improve safety on the Nation’s roadways by beginning to lay the groundwork for the safe integration of ADS; (2) Work to address disparities in the Nation’s roadway system by focusing demonstrations and ADS data gathering on rural roadways; and (3) Demonstrate how ADS can be used to enhance mobility for transportation-challenged populations such as the aging populations in rural communities. To begin to address these goals, ADS for Rural America has developed a demonstration project to gather publicly-available data for analysis that will help to identify risks, opportunities, and insights relevant for USDOT safety and rulemaking priorities. At the same time, ADS for Rural America will focus on testing ADS applications for the aging, transportation-challenged rural population. Objectives include: (1) Conduct an ADS demonstration project with eight increasingly complex phases that each include ten drives of the full route to capture variability; (2) Collect and publicly share data in near real-time, making it available within one week after the completion of each drive; (3) Augment data collected with markers and other information to make the dataset most useful to those accessing it, in order to more easily identify risks, opportunities, and insights relevant to the safe integration of ADS technologies; (4) Provide knowledge transfer opportunities to share data and lessons learned; and (5) Improve public open source ADS software modules (CARMA, Autoware) utilized in support of this project by identifying and correcting bugs in software as they are found and sharing software fixes in the public domain.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $7026769
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    United States Department of Transportation - FHWA - LTAP

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC    20590

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Federal Transit Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Mortensen, Steve

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Iowa, Iowa City

    National Advanced Driving Simulator, 2401 Oakdale Blvd
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242-5003
  • Principal Investigators:

    Ahmad, Omar

    McGehee, Daniel

  • Start Date: 20200413
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230401
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: Research and Development

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01743455
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Contract Numbers: IA-2020-005
  • Files: RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 22 2020 1:12PM