Transportation Technology Campaign Newsletter




Issue #4

January 12, 2022





If you see or hear about new technologies or services, please get in touch with the TWU International.




Biden DOT Embraces TWU's Worker-Centered Approach to Technology


Last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg unveiled six guiding principles for transportation innovation. These Innovation Principles place workers and unions at the center of the Department of Transportation's technology policy initiatives, reflecting critical goals of the TWU's national technology campaign.


"Innovation is not an end in itself - it’s a chance to improve everyday life," said Buttigieg. "So our department’s innovation efforts should always be serving key public policy priorities like creating economic opportunity.”


"The TWU has been working with the Biden Administration since the very beginning to make sure that workers have a seat at the table when new technology is being developed, tested, and eventually deployed," declared TWU President John Samuelsen, who praised President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for rolling out "pro-worker and pro-safety" principles.



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These pro-worker Innovation Principles will help guide and ensure the government's investments in transportation never come at the expense of workers - rather, they will create and sustain good, union jobs while maintaining the highest safety standards and ensuring that the next generation of transportation workers will always have a seat at the decision-making table.




See Inside Europe's First Autonomous Bus



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Via Shuts Down Personal Ride-Hail Business, Pivots To Mass Transit


Last month, ride-hail company Via acknowledged that it can no longer compete with Uber and Lyft in the personal ride-hail market. As a result, the company will now "shift its attention to mass transit systems like buses, shuttles, and vans."


Via has said that they consider public transit to be "a more reliable revenue stream thanks to long-term contracts." Translation: Via has figured out how to fleece the public by grabbing lucrative transit contracts.



The TWU's Tech Campaign is about making sure Big Tech companies do not lure transit agencies into bad service contracts that undermine safe and accessible service and eliminate good, middle class jobs.




Trenton, NJ Pursuing On-Demand AV Transit Service, Vows To Go "Completely Driverless" Within 2 Years


Trenton, New Jersey is going driverless with new on-demand shuttles in their transit system that riders summon through a mobile device or kiosk station. According to the operator, "vehicles will carry four to eight passengers at a time and 'customer host' will be on-board for about the first two years before going completely driverless."



Two points:


1) The TWU will always stand up for passenger safety and we will fight to make sure there is a skilled driver on-board every transit bus or shuttle.


2) The on-board workers are not "customer hosts" - they must always be well-trained, commercially licensed operators.




What We're Reading


  • Worker critically injured in driverless bus collision [The Safety Mag]
  • John Deere says its robo-tractors are ready to till the fields without an operator in the cab [Reuters]
  • Will Tesla's tunnels really reduce traffic jams? [Twitter]
  • All aboard except the driver? A fully autonomous train takes to the tracks in Germany [EuroNews]