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What it does 

HR 6200, the Transportation Workforce Modernization Act, directs the Department of Transportation to make up to $25,000,000 available through 2022 for grants establishing workforce retaining programs for workers displaced or at risk of losing their jobs due to higher-level automated driving systems. These one-time dollar-for-dollar matching grants would be awarded within a year of the Act’s passage to participating institutions of higher education and/or trade associations to create and administer retraining curricula to accepted transportation worker applicants. Available funding can also be used by participating stakeholders to fund studies, pilot programs, and monitoring of new kinds of jobs for transportation workers (e.g. fleet operations, diagnostics, and mechanical maintenance.)

Available candidate institutions for workforce retraining funding will include institutions with the adequate resources and relevant experience to create and facilitate an extensive curricula that provide high-demand skills and credentials to transportation workers. Candidate institutions should also be committed to the continuous identification and delivery of the necessary skills, technology and training to respond to emerging transportation workforce needs.

To provide full transparency of this funding program’s selection process, the Department of Transportation will post selection criteria, information about the program’s review process, and a review of the program’s ultimate selections. Further, within of this program’s selection and delivery of funds, the Department of Transportation will begin tracking the success of the participating programs including how many workers participate in each program, what transportation sectors the workers came from, which new sector they are being trained for, and the workers’ relevant demographic information. Finally, this bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study within a year of this bill’s passage on the impact of automated driving on the followings issues:

  • The Nation’s workforce;
  • The trucking, freight, and personal-transportation industries;
  • Lost wages and jobs;
  • Economic impacts throughout all economic sectors; and
  • The creation and changes to jobs and skills in the transportation workforce.
Relevant Science 

SAE International Levels of Automation, as set by SAE J3106, define six levels of driving automation. The levels are ordinal; as the level increases, more driving tasks shift from the responsibility of the driver to the responsibility of the vehicle. SAE International put forth the classification system to provide the public and the industry with standardized terminology to describe driving systems (SciPol Science Module available: Levels of Automation).

Artificial Intelligence and automation is expected to disrupt the U.S. labor market in a number of ways, which introduces a challenge for policymakers who will need to develop policy in response to effects of these technologies. In 2016, the White House published a report, “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy”, describing the expected changes to the economy and the workforce and recommends strategies that address those changes (SciPol Brief available).


Bill 6200 was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 22, 2018 and subsequently referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  

Primary Author 
Scott "Esko" Brummel, MA Bioethics and Science Policy
Recommended Citation 

Duke SciPol, “First Look: Transportation Workforce Modernization Act” available at (07//16/2018).

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