Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Beyond Traffic: DOT Looks Ahead to 2045

U.S. DOT has released a study, “Beyond Traffic,” that anticipates trends and choices facing the U.S. transportation system over the next 3 decades. It paints a bleak picture for the future of U.S. transportation if current developments remain unchanged. The report notes that existing transportation infrastructure, already unable to accommodate swelling populations, is in disrepair. U.S. demand for freight is growing, and it is projected to be $1.6 billion of the nation’s total gross domestic product in 2045. Funding is scarce and declining at a time when research by groups such as The Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that the system as a whole needs investment. The report also warns that the development of renewable energy strategies is not keeping pace with the overall demands on transportation systems.

Not all the news is bad, however. DOT highlights recent developments such as ride sharing and self-driving cars as a sign of hope that could reduce strain on the environment and infrastructure. The agency also indicates that it does not consider the study to be prescriptive. Instead, it hopes to ignite conversation among industry leaders. “Beyond Traffic is an invitation to the American public—including the users, developers, owners and operators of the transportation network and the policy officials who shape it—to have a frank conversation about the shape, size and condition of that syystem and how it will meet the needs and goals of our nation for decades to come,” the agency says. Learn more at the Beyond Traffic website. View the report here.