Transportation is universal for all of us to get to and from where we
work, live, play, and learn. Recently there has a been considerable
emphasis on cost or convenience but the industry must not lose sight
of key requirements of reliability and safety. With many new
technologies and business models entering into the transportation
sector, with significant new private sector funding, there can be an
urge to push new solutions without understanding how they could
affect the safety of the user and the environment.
Today we are in conversation with Barry Einsig. With over 30 years of
industry experience in global technology systems markets and modes
of transportation including automotive, roadway, aviation, public
transit, maritime, railroads, freight and logistics, and in-vehicle
technologies systems Barry explains the importance of placing safety at
Safety is an essential aspect of transportation and one that must always
keep as the NorthStar. How does the industry ensure safety is a top
priority, while also making sure that all stakeholders are engaged and
that there is not a negative financial, or operational impact?
“I tend to focus on the needs and concerns of community and
stakeholders, so I always put safety at the forefront. Throughout my
experiences advising and deploying systems, I have seen that it is
possible to do things safely and reliably. This is essential to build the trust needed for passengers or shippers to utilize the technologies and
“Seven years ago, I supported the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) during testimony regarding the market
readiness, and potential rulemaking, for the industry to support the
adoption connected vehicle technologies. NHTSA was evaluating if
personal light vehicles should be required to be connected, that is to
include vehicle to vehicle, and vehicles to infrastructure
communications. Ultimately, the rulemaking did not occur. Even
though there had been plenty of research to support the use of the
technologies that could save thousands of fatal crashes annually.
Other countries around the world (from Europe to Asia) continue
moving forward with these connected vehicle systems. Only a few
models of vehicles were released in the United States with the
technology, and some Infrastructure Owner Operators deployed
connected vehicle technologies.”
“The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been notating
the potential lifesaving capabilities of these technologies in reports on
fatal crashes such as the one in Somerset, Pennsylvania on February
8 2022. The crash occurred do to overspeed for the conditions of a
commercial bus that overturned, blocking the roadway, exposing the
bottom of the bus that was difficult to see by trucks that then crashed
into the overturned vehicle. NITSA maintains that if the vehicles and
infrastructure had connected vehicle technologies in place, many or
all those lives from the crash could have been saved.
“What I supported NHTSA in testifying, was the viability and market
readiness for connected vehicles systems. To me, the crash noted
earlier and many similar fatalities are clear-cut example of how
technology is essential, and we know how to deliver and deploy it
“But, trust and immediate action are required to deliver these safety
systems, vehicle manufacturers, their ecosystem of partners, and the
public sector must trust that all key stakeholders will implement the
necessary technologies in a safe, reliable, secure, scalable and
sustainable system of systems in order to save lives and improve
efficiencies. The automotive industry and infrastructure owner
operators have both come out in favor of moving forward with these
technologies. The time for action is now.
“With a concept like safety, the best place to start is with the
consensus that everyone wants to get to their destination seamlessly,
efficiently, and safely. Examples of this exist across all modes of
transportation. People will not utilize any mode of transportation if
they don’t feel safe. With this in mind, safety needs to be central to the
design and implementation of the system. This goal, though, must
balance with the user’s needs if it is to succeed. For instance, we could
make the roadway transportation system safer by requiring
technology to limit the vehicle to posted speed limits, but by focusing
on the user experience we need to consider how the user can adopt
and adapt to the technology for maintaining safe speed limits. In the
way the industry and users have integrated and utilized other safety technologies such as back up cameras, automatic braking, lane
keeping, and adaptive cruise control systems.
“There is no denying that safety comes with additional costs to
manufacture, or deploy, which can be challenging when engaging
with such a large group of stakeholders as the traveling public. But it
is also important to consider the other side of looking at safety from a
cost perspective. The other side begins the conversation regarding
liability. It may seem like money is saved when cutting safety costs.
But in the end, a larger liability associated with that cost reduction
can occur. Whether that’s a legal liability or just a lack of trust by
users of the system because they don’t feel safe using it.
“We have no choice but to focus on safety first as we begin to introduce
new technologies into the transportation industry. There are
tremendous safety, mobility, and efficiency gains for all of society
when we deploy them correctly. Welcome all to continue to
collaborate to rapidly design, build, operate, and maintain this new
set of technology system of systems for a brighter, and safer future
for all of us.”
Thank you for sharing, Barry.
Connect with Barry on Linkedin.
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