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ACAT Charter


The committee’s official designation is the Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation (ACAT).


The committee is established under the authority of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 2. The Secretary of Transportation has determined that the establishment of the committee is in the public interest.


In February of 2015, DOT released the draft report Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045. Beyond Traffic examines the long-term and emerging trends affecting our Nation’s transportation system and the implications of those trends. It describes how demographic and economic trends, as well as changes in technology, governance, and our climate, are impacting how people and goods travel today, and how they may impact travel in the future.

It is the policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation to foster the safe deployment of advanced automated and connected vehicle technologies to achieve national goals while also understanding the long-term societal and ethical impacts that these technological advancements may impose. The objective of this committee is to provide information, advice, and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation on matters relating to the development and deployment of automated transportation systems and assess the state of departmental research, policy, and regulatory support within this framework. The committee may convene and review the most effective approaches to harness safety-enhancing features of new technologies, and measures that can be taken to prepare the Department for disruptive new technologies. Matters before the committee may include environmental sustainability, maintenance of a state of good repair, human impact, accessibility, data use, and cybersecurity of new and emerging transportation-related technologies.

The ACAT shall undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary to further inform this policy, including—but not limited to— automated and connected road and transit vehicle technologies, enhanced freight movement technologies, railroad automated technologies, aviation automated navigation systems technologies, unmanned aircraft systems, and advanced technology deployment in surface transportation environments. In particular, the ACAT will perform these activities as they may relate to emerging or “not-yet-conceived” innovations to ensure DOT is prepared when disruptive technologies emerge and can more effectively manage evolution of training and education, regulation, and safety oversight. The ACAT shall consider the extent to which these topics and areas of application alleviate or exacerbate challenges to disabled and disadvantaged populations.

The committee should formally coordinate with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology— or any successor group tasked with advising the President and the Executive Office of the President on science, technology, and innovation matters— and consider information and policy recommendations of this group as appropriate and necessary.
The ACAT shall submit reports with its recommendations to the Secretary. The Secretary may accept or reject a recommendation made by the ACAT and is not bound to pursue any recommendation from the ACAT. In the exercise of his or her discretion, the Secretary, or his or her designee, may withdraw a task being considered by the ACAT at any time.
The committee shall act solely in an advisory capacity. The committee will not exercise program management responsibilities; decisions directly affecting implementation of automated transportation policy will remain with the Secretary.


The functions of the committee shall be advisory only. Any determinations to be made or action to be taken on the basis of committee recommendations shall be made or taken by appropriate officers of the United States Government.


This committee shall report to the Secretary of Transportation.


The Office of the Under Secretary for Policy will provide necessary funding, logistics and administrative support for the committee. In addition, modal staff will provide additional administrative support.


It is estimated that the committee’s operating costs during Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 will be $200,000 annually, plus salary and expenses for approximately 2.5 staff directly involved with the committee. The Office of the Under Secretary for Policy shall provide the funding and staff support, with assistance as necessary from the Operating Administrations.


The Secretary shall appoint a full-time Federal employee to serve as the ACAT coordinator and act as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for this advisory committee, and shall ensure that administrative support is provided for all activities.

The DFO, or his or her designee, shall do the following:

  • Call meetings of the Committee after consultation with the Chair and determine where they are to be held.
  • Formulate and approve an agenda, in consultation with the Chair, for each meeting,
  • Notify all Committee members of the time, place, and agenda for any meeting.
  • Provide administrative support for all meetings of the Committee.
  • Attend each Committee and any subcommittee meeting.
  • Maintain all ACAT files and records
  • Adjourn any meeting when it is determined to be in the public interest and chair meetings when directed to do so by the Secretary.

Notice of committee meetings must be published in the Federal Register at least 15 calendar days before the meeting.


The committee will meet approximately twice per year. Additional meetings may be convened as deemed necessary.
Each meeting shall be open to the public. Meaningful and accessible information regarding this Committee should be made available in formats to ensure outreach to all communities. Persons wishing to appear before the committee must make prior arrangements to do so. Written materials may be submitted to the committee at any time. Each meeting will be held at a reasonable time; in a place reasonably accessible to the public; and in a room able to accommodate the committee members, staff, and a reasonable number of interested members of the public. Meetings may be closed to the public only as authorized by § 10(d) of FACA, as implemented by 41 CFR Parts 101-6 and 102-3, the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. § 552b(c)), and DOT Order 1120.3B.


The need for this advisory function is on a continuing basis; however, it is subject to renewal every two years.


The Committee shall terminate two years from the date this charter is filed, unless renewed in accordance with FACA and other applicable requirements.


The Committee will comprise of no more than 25 voting members deemed to reflect various cross-modal perspectives on automated transportation, including vehicle automation, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), robotics, enhanced freight movement, air traffic control next generation technology, and advanced transportation technology deployment. The Secretary of Transportation will seek a membership that is fairly balanced in terms of points of view of the affected interests. Due to the rapid evolution of innovative technologies and the emphasis that must be placed on deployment, ACAT membership shall reflect experience in and familiarity with future innovations in technology, business development, and strategic planning issues.
Members of the ACAT may be selected to serve as representative members to the committee, or appointed as Special Government Employees. The ACAT members will serve 4-year terms, provided that the charter is renewed by the Secretary for another two years, with no more than two consecutive term reappointments. All members serve at the pleasure of the Secretary. Members may continue to serve until their replacement has been appointed.

The Chair and Vice Chair of the committee will be appointed by the Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy from among the selected members. Their term of service will not exceed the duration of this charter, and they may be reselected for additional periods should the charter be renewed and should they remain on the committee.

Members of the committee who are not full-time employees of the U.S. Government serve without compensation.

Members of the committee who are full-time employees of the U.S. Government serve without additional compensation but may be allowed transportation and per diem in lieu of subsistence and other expenses, in accordance with the DOT civilian travel regulations.


The Department has the authority to establish subcommittees. Subcommittees shall not work independently of the chartered ACAT and shall report all of their recommendations and advice to the full ACAT for deliberation and discussion. Subcommittees must not provide advice or work products directly to the Department.


The records of the committee, formally and informally established subcommittees, and other subgroups of the committee shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 6.2, and other approved agency records disposition schedules.

Minutes must be kept of each committee meeting and include the following:

  • Time, date, and place of the meeting.
  • A list of all attendees at the meeting.
  • A summary of matters discussed and conclusions reached.
  • Copies of all reports received, issued, or approved by the committee.
  • A statement that the meeting was closed to the public, if authorized under 41 CFR § 102-3.155.
  • A description of public participation, including a list of the members of the public who presented oral or written statements and an estimate of the number of members of the public who attended the meeting.

These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552) and DOT’s regulations governing the protection of sensitive security information (49 CFR Part 15). The records, reports, transcripts, minutes, and other documents that are made available to or prepared for or by the committee are available for public inspection at under Docket Number DOT-OST-2016-0203.


This Committee is effective December 20, 2016, which is the filing date of this charter. The committee will remain in existence for two years after this date unless sooner terminated or renewed.

Last updated: Friday, December 9, 2016