The ARDA Newsletter      Februrary 2022
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Rachael Gray Crandley, HDR 
Economic Development Committee Feature
Throughout history, humans have been able to convert manual processes into automated ones to help make life easier, more efficient, and safer. The advent of the autonomous vehicle is evidence of one more technological step in the path of automation. Most of us are accustomed to news about the successes of driverless cars and trucks being tested on the road. A natural progression of that concept has led to the development of autonomous freight rail. 
First, a little history on autonomous vehicles. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has created five “levels of automation” within the autonomous vehicle industry1. Level 0 is the status of a vehicle with no automation, in which a driver is responsible for all functions of vehicle operation. Level 1 is defined as “driver assistance” where the driver controls the vehicle but is assisted by built-in design features, such as anti-lock braking systems, camera systems that can control the brakes, or noise alerts that warn the driver of various conditions around them. Level 2, or “partial automation,” takes it a step further and describes a vehicle that while still controlled by a driver, can automatically accelerate, decelerate, and steer. Many new cars already offer these types of features, and providing “smart” cruise control, obstacle-detection through cameras, blind spot alerts, etc. Level 3, “conditional automation,” is where true full automation begins. Under Level 3, a driver must still be present and ready to manage the operation of the vehicle for certain functions or situations but the vehicle is otherwise completely autonomous. Level 4 takes that one steps further as “high automation” where the vehicle can operate entirely on its own under even more conditions, but a driver can choose to control it if desired. And finally, Level 5 is “full automation” where the vehicle operates autonomously in all conditions.

A Letter From The President
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the membership, sponsors, executive committee, presenters, and the Grove Avenue Solutions team for their efforts in planning and executing a highly successful 2022 Executive Forum. The City of New Orleans provided the perfect backdrop for a return to in-person events. It was great to reconnect with those who were able to travel. Our numbers and sponsorship exceeded expectations. A common sentiment within the organization is that ARDA members and sponsors are steadfast in their support, and you proved it once again.
Thank you to the speakers and presenters who delivered impressive content in areas of environmental and social governance, railbanking, infrastructure investment, and project siting. Your insight and shared learning benefits the organization and its members as we “Reach” across functions, organizations, and industries in leading advancement in railway development.
To those who hoped to attend the Executive Forum but were unable to, we look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City this July. The sections are already busy preparing content for what I’m sure will be another successful event.
I urge you all to check out the modernized website as content migration continues. As well, we appreciate your help in increasing the organization’s visibility through the recently launched LinkedIn page.
The annual scholarship program is preparing to launch. Please stay tuned for further information on the application process and other ARDA news.
Thank you once again for your continued support of ARDA!
Devin Sprinkle
The decision to return to in-person events was a challenging one as events unfolded in advance of the date.

The 2022 ARDA Scholarship is LIVE! 
ARDA Scholarship Candidates 
ARDA is currently accepting nominations for its 2021-22 Scholarship Program. As part of the program, ARDA members have the opportunity to nominate one candidate to receive the President's scholarship of $2,500
Scholarship Eligibility:
To be eligible for consideration, an applicant must:
  • Be sponsored by a current Active or Honorary ARDA member. ARDA members are permitted to sponsor one applicant per sponsorship year.
  • Be enrolled either:
    • As a full-time college student at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university, pursuing an associate, bachelor's or graduate level degree.
    • As a high school student expecting to graduate and having confirmed your enrollment at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university.
For more information on the ARDA scholarship please visit 
Application Deadline: 
April 15, 2022

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Thank You
2021-22 arda sponsors


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American Railway Development Association | PO Box 1092, Tallahassee, FL 32302


The  American Railway Development Association (ARDA) is a not-for-profit educational trade association founded in 1906 to promote Economic Development, Real Estate Development, Technology, and Environmental Activities of the North American Railroads.   The objectives of the Association are to foster the industrial, real estate, natural resources, market development activities and environmental concerns of the North American railroads; and through the advancement of ideas and education of its members, further promote the effectiveness of railway development and related work. For more information, visit the ARDA website at