National Academies Press: OpenBook

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

Chapter: Chapter 4 - A New Mindset for Planning

« Previous: Chapter 3 - Characteristics of New Technologies
Page 27
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - A New Mindset for Planning." 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 27

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I-27 With the rapid advances in technologies and their applications in transportation in the last few years it has become apparent that (1) public agencies have less control than they used to over the transportation system, and (2) agencies cannot let 5 years go by between updates to their plans and procedures. Public agencies need current, accurate information about what the commercial sector and the general public are doing with the land use and transportation system. Agencies also need to develop their capacity to respond nimbly to changes in commercially offered transportation services and public/private usage patterns. Four key phrases describe themes that will guide agencies’ planning in an era of rapidly evolv- ing technology: self assess, get data, get smart, and be nimble (Exhibit I-9): • Self Assess. An agency will frequently self assess to determine where there might be gaps in the agency’s ability to address the implications of new technologies in its planning processes and tools. • Get Data. Agencies need to get data on a continuous basis to become and stay informed about changing usage trends. Continuous data collection about an agency’s infrastructure and monitoring of public travel patterns and land uses are critical for the agency to keep up with evolving technology trends. A notable challenge is that the data an agency needs to monitor its operations is the same data the private sector wants to monetize. • Get Smart. Agencies need to get smart about the technologies affecting transportation, land use, and the services it provides. • Be Nimble. Finally, agencies must be nimble, adopting flexible policies, plans, and regulations that can be adapted as technology changes. The agency should be prepared to adapt its plans, regulations, and procedures to rapidly changing conditions quickly and frequently. The days when an agency could safely wait 10 years to update its long-range comprehensive plan are gone. At the very least, an agency needs to monitor current trends and update its plans, policies, codes, and ordinances every few years as new technologies enter the marketplace and others drop out. The remaining chapters in Part I of this report explore these themes in more detail. C H A P T E R 4 A New Mindset for Planning Exhibit I-9. A new mindset for planning.

Next: Chapter 5 - Self-Assessment »
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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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