National Academies Press: OpenBook

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (2018)

Chapter: Critical Issues in Transportation 2019

« Previous: Contents
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"Critical Issues in Transportation 2019." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
×
Page 2
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Critical Issues in Transportation 2019." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
×
Page 3

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

M odern economies and lifestyles would not be possible without extensive transportation systems. Yet, even as vital as they are, such systems mostly escape notice except when they do not function as expected. As the third decade of the 21st century approaches, however, expectations may well be turned upside down. Changes are coming at transportation from all directions, including potentially revolutionary technologies such as drones and automated vehicles, rapid innovations in urban transportation services, unreliable funding for infrastructure and operations, and possible changes in national policies affecting trade, climate, environmental protection, and sources of energy. The potential consequences of these changes could make future congestion, fuel consumption, and emissions either markedly better or markedly worse. Correspondingly, these potential changes could positively or adversely affect commercial truck, rail, aviation, and waterborne networks, with significant implications for the delivery of goods and services, personal travel, and the economy. In this edition of Critical Issues in Transportation, the TRB Executive Committee poses a series of challenging questions about potential critical issues that may arise 10 to 20 years into the future. These questions include interest in the implications of developing trends that might not fully manifest until beyond this period. The intent is to frame high-level questions that can be addressed during the next 5 to 10 years through research, policy analysis, and debate to help society prepare for the potentially unprecedented changes that lie ahead. The identified critical issues deserve attention because of transportation’s central and essential role in serving individuals and society and the many consequences it has, both favorable and not trb | transportation research board2 CRITICAL ISSUES IN TRANSPORTATION 2019

favorable, for the economy, safety, public health, and sustainability. The Executive Committee hopes that this document can serve to sharpen the collective understanding of transportation and its ramifications and encourage the analysis and research that will inform decisions by individual citizens and officials in both the public and private sectors. Although the issues have been identified and documented from a U.S. perspective, many of the issues are common across developed nations. Broad forces constantly affect transportation, including the daily personal travel aspirations of more than 300 million U.S. citizens, population growth and migration, economic growth and contraction, technological and scientific advances, human-made and natural disruptions, and changing trade relationships. These larger trends catalyze corresponding changes in transportation demand, passenger and freight flows, service preferences, and supply responses. The resulting transitions are inevitably a time of adjustment and lively debate about how transportation can, and should, most effectively evolve to support the changing social, economic, technological, environmental, and public policy context in which it must function. Understanding the broader environment that drives the demand for transportation, such as demographic change and economic growth, must be coupled with an appreciation of the goals that transportation strives to achieve, such as providing mobility and access through efficient system performance, safety, equity, sustainability, and resilience, and the conditions that drive transportation supply, such as financial and energy resources, governance, institutional capacity, and innovation. Opportunities for decision makers to improve transportation system performance across all of these different domains influenced the Executive Committee’s choice of critical issues. Whereas the Executive Committee frames this document around current trends and potentially revolutionary technological change ahead, a healthy respect should be maintained about what can be known about future developments. Rarely do futures cooperate with the expectations of their predictors. Hence, a particularly important element in identifying critical transportation issues is preparing for the multiple evolutionary paths that may be taken by both the forces of change and society’s attendant strategies to accommodate them. The issues identified in this document were generated from discussions by the Executive Committee and its Subcommittee for Planning and Policy Review. In addition to the members of the Executive Committee who made individual contributions, 23 transportation experts provided a critical review of the initial list, which led to a number of revisions. TRB’s Marine Board and the chairs of TRB’s standing committees and groups reviewed the revised list for coverage and balance, which led to further changes. Questions about critical issues, italicized in the text that follows, are grouped under 12 inter- related topics: 1. Transformational Technologies and Services 2. Serving a Growing and Shifting Population 3. Energy and Sustainability 4. Resilience and Security 5. Safety and Public Health 6. Equity 7. Governance 8. System Performance and Asset Management 9. Funding and Finance 10. Goods Movement 11. Institutional and Workforce Capacity 12. Research and Innovation Many issues span more than one topic area. For example, automation of transportation is currently of great interest in its own right, but can also have critical issues in transportation 2019 3

Next: Transformational Technologies and Services »
Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB has released Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. In this report, which is updated periodically by the TRB Executive Committee, a series of challenging questions are posed to explore issues and opportunities that may arise 10 to 20 years into the future. These questions, 63 in all, have been organized into 12 topic areas and provide a way to frame future areas of research, policy analysis, and debate. Critical issues identified in this report deserve attention because of transportation’s central role in serving individuals and society. This document serves to sharpen society's collective understanding of transportation and its ramifications, while informing decisions by individual citizens and officials in both the public and private sectors. The issues have been identified and documented from a U.S. perspective, and are also common across developed nations.

Download the executive overview, Critical Issues in Transportation: Policy Snapshot and or visit www.TRB.org/criticalissues from your mobile device.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!