National Academies Press: OpenBook

Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
×
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Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
×
Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
×
Page 12
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Land Use, Transportation, Technology." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25580.
×
Page 13

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I-8 We live in a world where we are surrounded by technology. This guide focuses on evolving transportation-related technologies that are likely to profoundly change how people travel, how goods are moved, and how land is used by society. Thus, while the internal combus- tion engine-powered automobile is a major factor in how we currently travel, the internal combustion engine is not the focus of this guide. It focuses instead on newer technologies— such as connected vehicles (CVs), electric vehicles (EVs) and fully automated/autonomous vehicles (AVs)—which have yet to have a pervasive influence on how people and goods travel but may, within a few years, affect travel and use land profoundly. A list of abbreviations and glossary of terms are provided with the back matter of this report. 2.1 The World of New Transportation Technologies The transportation sector of the U.S. and global economies currently use a vast array of technologies. As shown in Exhibit I-2, these technologies can be placed in rough classifications according to the type of guideway they use: highway, road, or street; rail; air; or water. The technologies can be further classified according to the payload of the vehicle (pas- sengers or freight). Finally, they can be subdivided according to where they primarily reside within the transportation system (i.e., in the vehicles, or on the infrastructure that carries and supports their movement). Infrastructure includes the guideway the vehicle uses as well as the guideway control systems, loading/unloading stations, waiting stations and warehouses, fare collection, and shipment and passenger tracking systems. Resource limitations required that the research for NCHRP Project 08-117 focus its cov- erage. Consequently, among the wide variety of guideways, payloads, and equipment in the transportation sector, this report focuses on the highway subsystem (passengers and freight), vehicles and infrastructure. The highway subsystem is the one likely to be of most immedi- ate interest to state DOTs. The report also includes UAVs used for package delivery, because UAVs appear to have the more immediate potential of transforming the operation of the highway subsystem. Several novel technologies applicable to non-highway modes might impact highway travel. Although resource limits prevented their coverage in this report, future research may be advis- able with regard to: • Passenger-carrying UAVs. Although this technology could affect highway travel, cost- efficient passenger-carrying UAVs for the public appear to be further into the future. C H A P T E R 2 Land Use, Transportation, Technology

Land Use, Transportation, Technology I-9 • Rapid, long-distance transportation modes like high-speed rail, rockets, maglev, hyper- loops, and supersonic transport (either above or below ground). These technologies also may affect intercity highway passenger travel and metro area highway travel; however, they also have significant costs to overcome and appear to be further into the future. 2.2 Focus of This Report Exhibit I-3 shows the transformational technologies that were selected to be the focus of this report: highway, road, and street vehicles; UAVs; and highway/road/street parking infrastruc- ture. Personal communication devices were added to the categories of technologies because the Exhibit I-2. The world of innovative transportation technologies. Exhibit I-3. Focus technologies of this guide.

I-10 Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation pervasiveness of personal communication capabilities enables the implementation of a wide variety of transformational applications of the new highway technologies. Many ground transport options are available for last-mile freight deliveries. This report focuses on UAVs for last-mile deliveries as the most potentially transformational option among those available. New technologies are applied in the transportation field to help travelers, shippers, and carriers more cost-effectively accomplish their mobility goals. Each application may employ a variety of technologies. Transportation applications can be grouped according to their focus area: improving personal mobility, improving land use efficiency, improving delivery of government services, and goods delivery (logistics) (see Exhibit I-4). In this report, the distinction between technologies and applications is necessarily indefinite. Generally, • Technologies involve more hardware than software. Often the software associated with the technology provides basic functionality for the hardware. • Applications involve more software than hardware. An application builds on the basic functionality of various technologies, combining them to provide functionality that is more sophisticated. 2.3 The Evolution of Technologies Vehicle technologies, infrastructure technologies, and their more sophisticated applications go through four typical stages of development: • A technology is under development if it has yet to be pilot tested on the public infrastruc- ture. This stage of development includes infrastructure technologies being tested only in a laboratory or on a closed test track. • A technology is in pilot testing if it is currently deployed on limited public sites in the United States. This stage of development includes infrastructure technologies being tested in the public right-of-way (ROW) if the testing is being funded at a limited number of sites in the United States through special, one-time-only private or public grants. Pilot testing is com- plete when the technical challenges have been overcome. The next two stages relate to how the technology competes in the marketplace with existing technologies. Exhibit I-4. New technologies lead to new applications.

Land Use, Transportation, Technology I-11 • A technology is at the loss-leader stage if it is generally deployed in major urban and/or rural areas of the United States but its operating costs are being subsidized by the government or the provider. • Finally, a technology is self-sustaining when it has reached the point at which it is able to successfully compete with other technologies in the marketplace. For a privately funded effort, this point is reached when operating revenues exceed operating costs. For publicly funded projects, this point is reached when the government decides public benefits outweigh public costs. This stage of development includes infrastructure technologies that are cur- rently implemented through a mixture of special and regular funding sources at more than a half dozen urban areas in the United States. 2.4 How Technology Impacts Travel Like all conventional economic goods, transportation is something for which travelers and shippers would prefer to pay less. If they can get it for less, they tend to use or buy more of it. New technologies and the applications these technologies provide within the transportation system will impact travel patterns through various mechanisms: • The technology may reduce the time cost of travel compared to other modes of travel. • The technology may reduce the monetary cost of travel compared to other options. • The technology may make new travel options available (for example, a new highway or new transit service to a previously inaccessible area). Any technology that affects travel costs and options also will impact land use (see next sub- section). Changes in land use will, in turn, affect travel patterns in a synergistic process. Anything that reduces the temporal and/or monetary cost of travel by a particular mode will usually increase travel by other modes (all other factors being held constant) or will increase overall travel (see Exhibit I-5). Anything that makes new travel options available will also usually increase travel (again, all other factors being held constant). New technologies also can cause travel to shift to other times of day. Travel may shift destina- tions when a technology opens new markets. The shifting of demand from other modes, times of day, and destinations may be much greater than the net effect on total demand. Note: The seesaw applies only if one factor is changed at a time, while all other factors are held constant. Exhibit I-5. Impacts of lower travel costs and times on travel demand.

I-12 Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation Exhibit I-6 shows the hypothetical impacts of a super taxi service (super cheap and conve- nient) on the other passenger travel modes. In this example, the new super taxi service draws most of its passengers from existing modes: transit and carpool. It is often the case that a new mode of travel draws most of its passengers from existing modes. Some entirely new trips may be generated, but most of the passengers will come from the other modes. 2.5 How Technology Impacts Land Use Anything that reduces travel costs may increase land values and densities by improving accessibility (if all other factors are held constant). Travel time and cost affect a traveler’s choice of destinations, which affects the value of land and land use (Zhao and Soon 2006). In the real world, however, the situation is rarely this simple. Several other factors besides travel cost play into land values and densities. Most transportation infrastructure improvements are necessarily location specific. Improvements to facilities serving a downtown core tend to increase downtown land values and density while reducing land values and densities in the suburban fringe. Some of the new transportation-related technologies considered in this guide, however, may have a global impact on travel costs, and therefore affect land values throughout the urban and rural areas. Other technologies that are deployed first in urban areas will tend to decrease land values (or slow down their increase) in rural areas where those technologies are not deployed. Lower travel costs tend to increase the value (and accelerate the development) of land that was harder to reach before the technology took effect. Depending on the geographic location of the travel-time improvements, the fringes of the urban area may see greater benefit than other areas (see Exhibit I-7). Downtown areas may be affected negatively when lower travel costs make fringe developments more financially attractive than downtown developments. Socioeconomic changes (such as smaller family sizes) as well as changes in taste (such as a preference for a downtown lifestyle) can counteract the land use effects of reduced travel costs. Lower travel costs also enable manufacturers and shippers to locate plants and operational facilities outside expensive land and labor areas, moving to areas with lower labor and land costs Exhibit I-6. Hypothetical example of mode shift effects of super taxi service.

Land Use, Transportation, Technology I-13 and shipping their goods to the higher labor cost areas. Land costs are just one of many factors that affect location choice. Socioeconomic effects (such as the desire for a highly skilled labor pool) can overcome land cost differences. In addition, higher time values placed on rapid order fulfillment by new technology can cause carriers, shippers, and manufacturers to relocate their infrastructure to higher land cost areas. Finally, lower travel costs can promote the movement of jobs from areas where travel costs are high and technology options are limited (such as rural areas) to urban areas that offer superior technology options. Exhibit I-7. Impacts of lower travel cost on urban form and growth.

Next: Chapter 3 - Characteristics of New Technologies »
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Examples of transformational technologies—many are discussed in technical and popular media—include wireless telecommunications, shared vehicles, connected vehicles, fully autonomous vehicles, alternative-fuel vehicles, smart cities and communities, big data analytics, internet-of-things, as well as UAVs or drones, 3-D printing, and more.

Public agencies face significant challenges continuing to perform their governmental functions in the face of the private sector’s prodigious output of these new technologies. Agencies need to rethink how they develop their policies and plans—and they need to obtain new expertise.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 924: Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation reviews the characteristics of new transportation-related technologies and their applications in the transportation sector and explores a wide variety of potential impacts on areas such as travel and land use and planning projects.

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