US DOT, Google unveil “Beyond Traffic” analysis of transportation needs

by Canadian Shipper

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ca. – On February 2, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt unveiled Beyond Traffic, a new forward-looking analysis from the U.S. Department of Transportation outlining  the trends that are likely to shape the needs the transportation system over the next three decades.

Beyond Traffic is offered to the public as a draft to ignite a national conversation about the future of the U.S. transportation system and to objectively frame critical policy choices that need to be made. A final report will be released later in 2015 based on the ideas and public feedback generated by this analysis, said the release.

“For too long, our national dialogue about transportation has been focused on recreating the past. Instead, we need to focus on the trends that are shaping our future,” said Secretary Foxx. In Washington, in state capitals and in city halls, it is time to sound the alarm bell: the future is calling. Beyond Traffic gives us a view into 2045 and the basis to plan for it.  But not having a plan is a plan,” he said.

The critical questions and major trends and choices identified include:

How will we build a transportation system to accommodate a growing population and changing travel patterns?

 By 2045, freight volume will increase 45 percent. How will we reduce freight chokepoints that drive up the cost of owning a business?

Technological changes and innovation may transform vehicles and infrastructure, logistics, and delivery of transportation services to promote efficiency and safety. How will we knock down barriers to new technologies that promise to make travel safer and more convenient?

How will we adapt? Climate change will include global mean sea level rise, temperature increases, and more frequent and intense storm events, all of which will impact highways, bridges, public transportation, coastal ports and waterways. How will we make our infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy?

How will we align decisions and dollars? And invest the trillions of dollars our transportation needs in the smartest way possible?

In January 2014, the Department began assembling a team of experts from across the Agency’s modes and offices. This team established a structure, took a holistic look at the US transportation system, identified key trends affecting the network, examined the potential impacts of such trends on a future transportation system, and provided a comprehensive range of policy options and potential choices. Additionally, the team met with several transportation thought leaders from around the country.  As the report was coming together, the team shared key findings in six public webinar sessions that drew 1,300 participants.

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