Regulatory Alert: DOT Requests Feedback on Artificial Intelligence Applications in Transportation

DOT Requests Feedback on Artificial Intelligence Applications in Transportation
May 3, 2024
On May 3, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a notice requesting feedback from industry stakeholders and the public on the potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in transportation, and the emerging challenges and opportunities in creating and deploying AI technologies in applications across all modes of transportation, including aviation. DOT’s request was issued in response to President Biden’s October 2023 Executive Order (EO) that directed his administration to take a wide range of actions to ensure the federal government is advancing the potential benefits of AI while managing its risks.
DOT’s request for information (RFI) was published in the Federal Register today. Responses to the RFI are due by Tuesday, July 2. Data and responses received by DOT will be used by the department to inform future funding opportunities for AI research and development in transportation. AAAE will be soliciting feedback from membership to determine whether to file a response to DOT’s RFI.
One of AAAE’s priorities is to ensure that the airport’s voice is heard during ongoing discussions within DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the potential implications of AI, especially from a policy perspective. We are members of a newly formed task force within the Advanced Aviation Advisory Committee that will provide recommendations to FAA on how AI could help integrate drones into the National Airspace System. We are also tracking ongoing AI developments as they pertain to aviation security, including cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure.
Background. On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued EO 14110, “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” which outlined how his administration would govern the development and use of AI safely and responsibly and move forward with a coordinated approach within the federal government. The EO directed DOT’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Infrastructure (ARPA-I) to explore transportation-related opportunities and challenges of AI. President Biden also encouraged ARPA-I to prioritize grant funding to opportunities identified by the agency. The RFI released today is intended to help DOT and ARPA-I fulfill its mandate under the EO.
Overview of DOT’s ARPA-I. ARPA-I is a newly formed agency within DOT and was created by Congress through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). ARPA-I is focused on developing and implementing new transportation technologies, and its primary goal is to fund external, advanced R&D programs that develop new technologies, systems, and capabilities to improve transportation infrastructure. In the RFI, ARPA-I noted that funding the development and use of AI technologies to address transportation-related challenges will be a key priority for the agency.
DOT’s Request for AI-Focused Feedback. DOT’s RFI includes five specific questions for stakeholders and the public that focus on (1) current AI applications in transportation; (2) opportunities for AI in transportation; (3) challenges of AI in transportation; (4) autonomous mobility ecosystems; and (5) other considerations relevant to the development, challenges, and opportunities for AI in transportation.
To help stakeholders prepare their responses, DOT ARPA-I identified some examples of potential uses of AI in transportation. In the context of aviation or airports, these could include:

•    Autonomous mobility systems and vehicles in the air;
•    Optimization of equitable curb management;
•    Use of AI to assess traveler behavior and preferences;
•    Air traffic control optimization for large-scale aviation operations facilitated by AI;
•    Automating and digitizing physical infrastructure asset management through AI to optimize planning, design, operations, construction, and maintenance, and end of life;
•    AI assessment and assurance tools, methods and frameworks, benchmarks, testing environments, validation and verification, and the creation of datasets for AI and AI-enabled systems across all modes of transportation;
•    Optimizing planning, design, build and permitting for infrastructure construction and repair, and reducing construction costs by incorporating best practices developed through generative AI, including natural language processing and large language model-based processing of existing knowledge and databases;
•    Optimization of multimodal freight and logistics networks and supply chains nationally, including, among other modes, aviation freight and logistics systems;
•    Safe operation of drones in emerging aviation applications;
•    Offline analysis of traffic data, transportation safety data, and emissions inventories; and
•    Enhancing mapping and spatial AI for real-time automation and navigation across all modes, as well as for infrastructure design, maintenance, and repair.

What’s Next? DOT’s RFI was published in the Federal Register today, triggering a 60-day comment period. Responses to the RFI are due by Tuesday, July 2. AAAE will be working with members to determine whether to file a response to the request. If you have feedback for AAAE, please contact Justin Barkowski ( or Megan Eisenstein (