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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Harvard Kennedy School is holding a series of AV policy scrums, intensive daylong sessions that bring together representatives of local governments, regional transit authorities, the private sector, academia and community groups.

Why it matters: State governments have allowed AV pilots, but outdated public infrastructure and ineffective regional government coordination are hindering progress on the AV roadmap. Getting all these parties around one table could help.

Background: For the past 7 years, automakers, technology companies and local and state governments have been working together to implement AV–friendly policies around road testing that address safety concerns.

  • But, but, but: These conversations have largely left out public transportation, local right-of-way issues, environmental concerns, infrastructure costs and regional coordination.

What's happening: AV policy scrums — modeled on the rugby play — have helped cities like Boston, Kansas City and Toronto define and achieve their goals.

  • Chris Osgood, Boston's Chief of Streets, has explained that these initiatives allow the city to "work with a wide variety of stakeholders to advance our thinking on the specifics of this policy," especially around shared trips.
  • New York City and Cambridge, Mass., have recently held their own scrums, and 9 states have established AV policy commissions, working groups or task forces.
  • California legislators are formulating a set of guiding principles for the state's AV policy, drawing on a series of briefs issued in 2016 by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. Their bill aims to to avoid exacerbating pollution and congestion as AVs are deployed.

Be smart: Under President Obama, the Department of Energy invested in regional clean cities efforts, bringing together 32 states to plan for electric vehicle deployment. Setting priorities for AV policy will likely require similar collaboration among private businesses, city and state authorities and residents.

Colleen Quinn is a transportation and energy policy adviser and president of EMobility Advisors.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.