photo of a car with headlights shining driving down a road

Session No. 7A

AV P3: Policy, Planning, and Practice

Session Description: This session will provide a multidimensional look at Pennsylvania’s Automated Vehicle efforts and programs.  Speakers will present information on the vehicle platoon policy mandated by Pennsylvania Act 117.  Additionally, information will be provided on the development of an Automated Vehicle Incident Response Plan which will provide incident management guidance for a broad spectrum of stakeholders including emergency responders and transportation officials in partnership with AV testing companies.   Lastly, there will be an update on the Pennsylvania Safety Transportation and Research Track (PennSTART) which, when constructed, will be a state-of-the-art facility for AV research and testing for Pennsylvania and adjoining states.

Moderator Name: Vijay Varadarajan, HNTB          

Speaker Bios

Kara N. Templeton has been with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for over 19 years and currently serves as the Director of the Bureau of Driver Licensing. Kara is responsible for all driver license operations in the Commonwealth, which include issuance, sanctioning, driver license facilities operations at over 100 centers, and special driver programs for over 10 million Pennsylvania driver license and identification card holders. Since 2014, she has been serving on AAMVA’s Autonomous Vehicles Best Practices Working Group, which developed and released the AAMVA Guidelines for The Safe Testing of Highly Automated Vehicles in 2018.  Kara also serves as a technical advisor to the Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Task Force, which was established in 2016.  In this role, Kara served as a contributor to the Commonwealth's Automated Vehicle Testing Guidance and the Commonwealth's Vehicle Platooning Policy.

Gabby Benson has experience and a strong skill set in Traffic Management Center (TMC) Operations, Traffic Incident Management (TIM) and Emergency Management. Gabby’s experience has been obtained throughout her professional career at the Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, and as a consultant. During her time as Project Manager for the PennDOT Statewide Traffic Management Center (STMC), Gabby utilized innovateive TIM techniques to ensure safe and efficient travel, developed TMC Operations training programs and Standard Operating Procedures.  Currently, Gabby works as a TMC Operations and Incident Management Specialist for Drive Engineering supporting PennDOT’s Office of Transformational Technology Office in the development of an Automated Vehicle Incident Response Plan. Gabby also works on multiple projects supporting Traffic Operations for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Dave Wolfe has developed a specialized skill set in Traffic Management Center (TMC) Operations, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and Traffic Incident Management (TIM) through his careers in Transportation Operations and volunteer emergency services.  During his career with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Dave garnered extensive experience in TMC and traffic operations, and served as the DOT liaison to regional TIM Task Forces in the Philadelphia Region. Currently, Dave works for Drive Engineering providing extensive Traffic Incident Management and Traffic Operations program support to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.  Dave also works on multiple projects supporting TMC operations for PennDOT District 6, and the New York State Department of Transportation Hudson Valley TMC.  A volunteer firefighter since 1996, Dave is a frequent speaker to first responders from all disciplines on the topic of Traffic Incident Management and is designated as a trainer for the Federal Highway Administration’s Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP 2).

Eric Donnell is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State, Director of the Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, and Director of the Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multimodal Transportation Infrastructure Systems.  He has 21 years of teaching and research experience related to geometric design of highways and streets, speed management, and traffic safety.  He has served as Principal or co-Principal Investigator on research projects from sponsors including the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Federal Highway Administration, PennDOT, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, New York City DOT, Montana DOT, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Donnell has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and technical research reports.  He currently chairs the Transportation Research Board’s Design Section and is past chair of the TRB Geometric Design Committee.  He is an Associate Editor of the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal, as well as Associate Editor (in the design and safety areas) for the Transportation Letters international journal.  He also serves as a member of the FHWA-PennDOT Statewide Transportation Innovation Council and is a member of the Governor’s Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee.  Dr. Donnell is a past leadership fellow of the Eno Foundation.       

Joe Sutor has been with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission since 2004 and currently works as the Planning and Environmental Manager in the Engineering Department.  Joe’s 31 years of engineering experience includes time with Lower Paxton Township, Ephrata Borough and Grinnell Corporation. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and has a Master of Public Administration Degree from Penn State Capital Campus. Mr. Sutor is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


< Back to full agenda

Friday, December 13, 2019

8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Room 206

Note: Select presentations are available in PDF format for download by clicking on the highlighted link for each title. If a link is not shown, the presentation was too large to be uploaded to the website.  



The Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC) attracts professionals from throughout Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic region, and the country. It is an authoritative source of information on pressing issues from some of the foremost experts in transportation today.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-1891