Autonomous vehicle safe operating speeds on the automated skyway express in jacksonville, florida

Andrew E. Loken, Joshua S. Steelman, Scott K. Rosenbaugh, Ronald K. Faller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Autonomous vehicles (AV) differ significantly from traditional passenger vehicles in both their behavior and physical characteristics. As such, the validity of the guidance provided in the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware, Second Edition (MASH 2016) is questionable in AV applications. Impact angles, speeds, and vehicle weights specified in MASH 2016 are inextricably linked to the traditional vehicles underlying the estimates. For AV applications, these parameters must be estimated from the ground up, stepping outside the guidance of MASH 2016. In this paper, a conservative method for evaluating existing infrastructure to support AV traffic is proposed. The method integrates traditional structural analyses with unconventional methods of estimating impact conditions. This methodology was developed for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, who, when faced with unique challenges in maintaining and expanding their Automated Skyway Express, opted to convert the system from monorail to AV traffic. Leading AV developers were surveyed to develop a portfolio of potential candidates for the conversion. Estimated impact conditions were then compared against the capacity of the system’s existing concrete parapets. Ultimately, safe operating speeds for each AV candidate were recommended on the bases of structural capacity and vehicle stability. All but one AV candidate were deemed capable of safely operating at the desired speed of 25 mph without any modifications to the barrier. Although the methodology was developed for a particular case, it is applicable to future implementations of AVs on existing infrastructure, provided the roadway is confined similarly to the Skyway deck.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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