Skip to Content

Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Advisory Committee

Law professor selected to help lead federal advisory committee on transforming transportation

In an increasingly digital world, the role of artificial intelligence in the 21st century is one of promise: accelerating innovation, increasing access, and empowering individuals. AI also poses the threat of increased harm by fostering disinformation, magnifying bias, and consolidating control.

To address these issues, President Joe Biden released an Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, which in part directs U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to seek advice from the newly established Transforming Transportation Advisory Committee (TTAC). 

Shaping the future of transportation 

Artificial intelligence – from automated driving to more subtle uses of machine learning – will be a major focus of TTAC’s work. TTAC is also tasked with exploring pathways to safe, secure, equitable, accessible, and sustainable transportation for all Americans. The committee will examine the ongoing safety crisis on U.S. roads as well as the challenges and opportunities that automation presents for American workers – approximately 16 million of whom are directly employed in transportation-related industries. The recommendations the committee presents to Buttigieg will focus on the role the U.S. Department of Transportation should play in navigating these important and rapidly changing issues. 

The players 

As TTAC’s vice chair, associate professor of law Bryant Walker Smith will work closely with Buttigieg and committee chair Kate Gallego, mayor of Phoenix, Arizona. The committee comprises 27 leaders from academia, the public sector and industry. They include the president of the automative industry’s trade association, the co-CEO of a leading autonomous driving company, the transportation director for San Francisco, the chief transportation policy advisor for the Teamsters, and many other key contributors to the development, deployment, and regulation of emerging mobility technologies. Some of the members represent stakeholders and others – including Smith – were appointed for their independent expertise. 

What they’re saying 

“Transportation is a tool that makes life possible and, when done right, makes life better,” Smith says. “AI and other emerging technologies are also tools. A key question for our country, for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and therefore for this committee is what role innovation can play alongside other tools in improving people’s lives. I hope TTAC can help.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.