Emerging Transportation Choices

connected transportation choices

image credit FHWA

Today we have new types of transportation and technologies that didn’t exist a few years ago.  Who could have imagined that we can summon a ride and pay using a smart phone, or that we can order things online – even groceries – and have them delivered to our front door within hours?

As new technologies or enhanced forms of transportation emerge, they present both opportunities and challenges to improve mobility. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has said:

Transportation is in the midst of disruptive change from new technologies (automated and connected vehicles); new institutions (shared mobility firms); and changing attitudes (reduced car ownership) … Planners are under pressure to develop … policies, plans, and investment decisions that consider an increasingly complex transportation landscape. In the process, planners need to consider, but cannot yet reliably predict, the potential impact of disruptive and transformational … technologies on safety, vehicle ownership, road capacity, VMT (vehicle miles travelled), land-use, roadway design, future investment demands, and economic development, among others.

Emerging transportation includes autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles, as well as the technology and infrastructure needed to make them work. Much uncertainty exists regarding the rate of their adoption, and many are still in their infancy.  However, we are starting to envision scenarios and strategies to integrate emerging transportation choices into our plans.