Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions

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Call on CATES for technical and management consulting, policy advisory services, and contract research on road vehicle automation and electrification.



CATES Appearances

December 2, 2016, Advanced Transportation Technologies Conference, all-day, Meydenbauer Center, downtown Bellevue.

May 19, 2016, Washington Policy Center Solutions Summit, Bellevue, WA. Steve Marshall presentation on Redefining Transit.

October 9, 2015, Advanced Transportation Technologies Conference, all-day, Mercer Island Community and Events Center. Moderated by CATES Executive Director, Steve Marshall.

Recent Publications

John Niles wrote an essay in the New Geography blog of April 13, 2017 titled "Urban Leaders Should Plan for the Public Transit of the Future" describing the two distinct markets for automated vehicles.

John Niles was lead author of a chapter in the book Disrupting Mobility published by Springer in January  2017; click here for a direct link to a preview of the chapter titled "Transit Leap: A Deployment Path for Shared-Use Autonomous Vehicles that Supports Sustainability."

John Niles is lead author of the blog post "How NHTSA should respond to the Tesla Autopilot crash in Florida" dated July 4, 2016

A research paper  “How cities can use autonomous vehicles to increase transit ridership and reduce household vehicle ownership” co-authored by John Niles was named a runner-up for the best conference paper at the May 2016 annual Canadian Transportation Research Forum in Toronto.

CATES wrote a chapter in the well-received book from Springer, Road Vehicle Automation, published in May 2014; click on the book cover for further information from the publisher. Title of our chapter is "Synergies Between Vehicle Automation, Telematics Connectivity, and Electric Propulsion" by Steve Marshall and John Niles.

Cover image, Road Vehicle Automation

Click here for comments from the CATES reseach director about selected clippings on vehicle automation. On an award-winning ScoopIt news curation site.

Events Completed

John Niles presented a poster at the December 2015 Florida Automated Vehicle Summit in Jacksonville, Florida

John Niles presented at Puget Sound Regional Council Traffic Operations Committee on connected, automated vehicles, December 4, 2014 

Steve Marshall presentation to the Washington Future Energy Conference on November 5, 2014 about Boosting Electric Vehicle Adoption in Washington State [Click for pdf of his slides].

Video highlights from John Niles' presentation "Vehicle Automation, Challenge and Opportunities" for the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Northwest, October 29, 2014.

Joe Rosmann spoke on "Evolution of Driverless Cars" to the Annual Meeting of Washington State Good Roads and Transportation Association, September 19, 2014 in Richland, WA [Click for full text.]

John Niles presented a paper "Connected, Automated, Zero-Emission Cars Are Essential for Improving Livable, Sustainable Communities" to the 2014 World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Detroit, Michigan, September 10, 2014. [Click for full text of paper.]

Steve Marshall presented a poster titled "Demonstrating How to Reduce Oil Consumption and Achieve Emission-Free Mobility as Connected, Automated Vehicle Travel Rises" at the TRB 2014 Automated Vehicle Symposium on July 16, 2014 in San Francisco.

John Niles presented the lunch speech at the ITS Canada Annual Conference & General Meeting, June 4, 2014, Victoria, BC [Click for full text.]

John Niles presented a poster "Working Toward Financially Sustainable Public Transit by Reducing Vehicle Operating Costs" at the TRB Road Vehicle Automation Workshop, July 16, 2013 on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, CA

September 7, 2012 Conference, "Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation in Century 21"
Part of Seattle World's Fair Anniversary celebration. Click for Conference Summary Report.

Opening remarks at Beyond Oil Conference from Event Chairman Steve Marshall 

Video recording of Beyond Oil Conference, thanks to and Seattle Center Foundation.

Access to specific presentations (slides on split screen) available via "Content on Demand" tab below viewing window in the conference video:
As a few examples:
Amory Lovins, Chapter 3
Robert Lutz, Chapter 6
Phil Jones, WUTC, Chapter 7
Candidates for governor, Chp 8
Shelley Poticha, HUD, Chapter 9
Sec. Paula Hammond, Chapter 10
Smart Cars, Chapter 11
Self-Driving Cars, Chapter 12

>>Coverage of Beyond Oil by Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times

>>Follow up on Beyond Oil by conservation-minded law firm Graham & Dunn

>>Report on Beyond Oil by Mallory Smith in The Futurist Blog

Participants in our July 18, 2011 workshop to plan an Electric Mobility Demonstration Project, conducted jointly with Institute for Environmental Research and Education. 

Other from CATES

Automated, Connected, and Electric Vehicles An Assessment of Emerging Transportation Technologies and a Policy Roadmap for More Sustainable Transportation, December 2014.

"Automating Your Ride" by Steve Marshall, in the May/June 2013 issue of Journey, the magazine for AAA members.

 "Expanding Public Transit by Changing Its Definition" Comments of John Niles for the Puget Sound Regional Council General Assembly, April 25, 2013

Letter to Governor Jay Inslee: Steps for the Governor to Transform Transportation

CATES presentation April 18, 2011 to HUD Region 10 Administrator

Published short essays by Steve Marshall

From others

Seminal 2010 book from MIT Press: Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Mobility for the 21st Century by William J. Mitchell, Christopher E. Borroni-Bird, and Lawrence D. Burns 

Global EV Outlook report, April 2013 from International Energy Agency



Consumer-oriented publication from Western Washington Clean Cities -- click on the picture to download in pdf.

Map of commuter flows for JBLM

Winning WSDOT application for U.S. DOT TIGER 3 grant supporting the JBLM Congestion Management Project (3rd project listed)

MOU between U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense to accelerate clean energy innovation and enhance national energy security

"Climate Change and Transportation: Summary of Key Information," Transportation Research Circular E-C164, July 2012


Rice-Stanton Transportation Governance Reform project, 2006


Poster for Automated Vehicle Symposium, 2014
 Poster on the planning for the CATES' demonstration project at
Joint Base Lewis McChord near Tacoma, WA.
Click on the poster to show a larger pdf version.

Eastside Transportation Partnership (ETP) and the two other King County Transportation Boards engaged CATES to plan and produce two Advanced Transportation Technologies Conferences, focused on "What’s in the Future and How Do We Plan for It?” Speakers included technology and policy experts from across the USA, as well as prominent local experts. The event record of the latest one on December 2, 2016 in Bellevue is here.

CATES -- Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions -- is a non-profit research & development organization based in Western Washington State.  Our mantra is at the top of this page: "Research, Educate, Integrate, and Accelerate."  There are many diverse threads to integrate!

CATES is examining the status of mobility around the Puget Sound region and how to improve efficiency of movement with several kinds of  technology-based solutions. We are impressed with the potential for environmental improvement from a new generation of electric vehicles (EVs) of all sizes, but mostly small, with computerized communications built in for traveler information about road conditions, vehicle status, and location of battery recharging stations. There is also great potential for shared-ride HOVs to be an important type of EV.

We are also impressed with the potential safety and congestion-reduction potential in adding computerization, wireless communications, and sensors to road vehicles, including public transit.

As we told Seattle Magazine,

Our region needs to take advantage of its mostly carbon-free electric power, a growing network of electric vehicle charging stations, and its strong information technology industry.

Today, Washington State imports all its oil, costing over $15 billion a year and damaging economic vitality, national security, and the environment. Because anytime, anywhere personal mobility is critical for employment opportunity and commerce, all government forecasts show cars providing the overwhelming share of future regional travel.

Powered with domestic electricity instead of foreign oil – and with in-car, smart guidance for drivers – cars can efficiently reach reserved spaces at park-and-ride mobility hubs providing battery recharging and transit access to urban centers.

Road use fees with off-peak discounts collected electronically on busy highways would compensate for falling fuel tax collections while keeping cars and transit moving smoothly. In-car electronics would provide lane keeping and automatic braking to prevent collisions and associated traffic disruptions.

We outlined our approach in a proposal for an integrated assessment (IA) of the connected EVs' contribution to transportation sustainability. The proposal was submitted to the University of Michigan Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute in partnership with the Connected Vehicle Proving Center at University of Michigan - Dearborn.  A summary of our phase 2 proposal is posted here. A phase 1 planning grant was awarded on November 22, 2011. The second phase grant was awarded on August 25, 2012, and the public kick-off was September 7 at the Beyond Oil Conference at Seattle Center with video recordings on the left hand side of this page.  The final report, "Automated, Connected, and Electric Vehicles: An Assessment of Emerging Transportation Technologies and a Policy Roadmap for More Sustainable Transportation" is here.

Detail about our Integrated Assessment (IA)

As a first step in the IA we at CATES assembled a Knowledge Base of documents to inform the construction of scenarios for the transformation of transportation. We asked regional stakeholders and national subject matter experts to help us refine and choose the most desirable of these scenarios for Washington State civic interests and national leadership to pursue.

We are now posting the best information we find on the web about self-driving cars on a Scoop.It site. Click here to see it.

Following the definition of a preferred scenario, we have conversed with regional and national stakeholders to help us evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative investments intended to accelerate adoption of this scenario.

Our work and scenarios are consistent with existing planning processes and decisions of Puget Sound Regional Council, Thurston Regional Planning Council, State of Washington, and the U.S. Government on all matters within our project scope. Motorized road transit and HOV such as buses, vanpools, carpools, private employee shuttles, and taxicabs are within our scope, as well as the future of the automobile generally.

As shown in the following chart depicting data from a sample of 6,000 households in the central Puget Sound region, the travel mode share in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area is dominated by motor vehicle use, so the importance of public and private policy to make cars be safer and generate lower emissions gives impetus to the focus of CATES:

Puget Sound Region Mode Split


We are also consistent in the integrated assessment with existing approved plans on issues outside of our project scope such as land use pattern/density, non-motorized transportation modes, passenger railroad modes, water ferries, and aviation.

Simultaneously with development of the IA, CATES has opened lines of two-way communications with elected leaders, government agencies, and professional associations who are already involved in transforming transportation to be more sustainable.  Our University of Michigan colleagues are working closely with Transportation Research Board (TRB) and Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Graham Institute at University of Michigan has posted the final project report on findings and conclusions on the future path of automated, connected, electric vehicles.

No personal information is collected via this web site.
Copyright © 2017 Center for Advanced Transportation Solutions
Last modified: 05/01/17 



Steve Marshall, Executive Director 

John Niles, Research Director

Joseph Rosmann,
Development Director


Resume of Steve Marshall

June 2013 video interview of Steve by Stan Emert  on Public Exposure

Resume of John Niles


External Links

End of Driving from Grush Niles Associates, Seattle and Toronto

Thinking Highways magazine (Note cover story, bottom left)

Securing America's Future Energy

Ridesharing Institute

Global Telematics

Ride service Lyft and its public policy stance

Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute at University of Michigan, describing CATES project, "A Roadmap for Sustainable Transportation: Connected, Automated, and Electric Vehicle Systems" 

Connected Vehicle Proving Center at University of Michigan - Dearborn

Western Washington Clean Cities

Program and presentations from the TRB-AUVSI Road Vehicle Automation Symposium, July 2016

Canadian Automated Vehicles Center of Excellence

Climate Solutions

Electrification Roadmap and Fleet Electrification Roadmap by Electrification Coalition.  

"Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid-The Supporting Role of Safety and Mobility Services" from ITS America  

Video from Google describing its self-driving car:


Video from Volvo describing its work in vehicle automation:


Video from Hyundai promoting available driver assistance automation in its Genesis model vehicles:

Insights About Telematics (Daily electronic newsletter crowd-sourced from Twitter)

Thurston Regional Planning Council Plan for Sustainable Development

Puget Sound Regional Council's sustainability project, "Growing Transit Communities: A Corridor Action Strategy for the Central Puget Sound Region"

The U.S. DOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse

Daily computer-generated compilation of news stories "Noted by CATES" as crowd-sourced from Twitter.

The real-time status of road traffic and public transit (mostly running on  roads) is available here: 

  • For central Puget Sound regional expressway status right now, click here (links to traffic cameras).
  • City of Seattle posts traffic status here (links to traffic cameras).
  • City of Bellevue posts traffic status here (links to traffic cameras).
  • For the latest status reports on Sound Transit buses and trains, click here.
  • OneBusAway reports the locations of public transit buses around Puget Sound in real time.
  • Real-time traffic around Joint Base Lewis McChord is here.