REGS - a Regulatory Expert Guidance System for understanding and interpreting transportation regulations: application to Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

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Virginia Tech

In order to assist the people in the transportation industry in accurately understanding and interpreting the transportation regulations, a prototype expert guidance system called REGS has been developed for Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This PC-based system models the regulatory guidance methodology employed by statutory interpretation experts in the industry.

The working environment of this system is very user-friendly. When a query is put forth requesting interpretation, the system is initiated and the user is presented with a set of choices. These choices are designed to cater to the needs of the user for providing appropriate and adequate guidance. If the user chooses to run the REGS module, the system puts forth a series of questions to arrive at the conclusions. While the user responds to these questions, the system evaluates the responses, internally reviews the relevant regulations and past interpretations and stops to provide a conclusion. The system can also handle "how", "why" and "what-if' type of questions by giving explicit explanations. While the system searches through its regulations knowledge base, the user is provided an option to look at the regulatory text, select the relevant sections and print them if it is required to answer the request for interpretation. This type of "all at one place" guidance helps the user to understand the intent latent in the regulations. It also helps the user in assembling a boilerplate response based on which an interpretation for the request can be prepared.

The system is useful to enforcement officials, motor carrier company officials, drivers and government regulators, who all need to be intimately familiar with Part 382 of the FMCSRs. Since the architecture of REGS is transportable to any set of regulations, similar systems could easily be developed for any other set of transportation regulations.

artificial intelligence, transportation, regulations, guidance, interpretation, expert system