Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (2018)

To spur the conversation on implementing new technologies to improve transportation and to face the unprecedented challenges facing the transportation sector in its critical role in society and the economy, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) identified and organized an array of important issues under 12 key topics. In each of these areas, TRB posed a series of crucial questions to help guide thinking, debate, and discovery during the next 5 to 10 years. These 12 topics are neither comprehensive nor mutually exclusive, and no one can know how the future will unfold. But TRB thinks that asking the right questions, even if they cannot be fully answered, helps to motivate the analysis, discussion, and debate required to prepare for the potentially unprecedented changes ahead.

These 12 key topics are as follows:

  1. Transformational Technologies and Services: Steering the Technology Revolution
  2. Serving a Growing and Shifting Population
  3. Energy and Sustainability: Protecting the Planet
  4. Resilience and Security: Preparing for Threats
  5. Safety and Public Health: Safeguarding the Public
  6. Equity: Serving the Disadvantaged
  7. Governance: Managing our Systems
  8. System Performance and Management: Improving the Performance of Transportation Networks
  9. Funding and Finance: Paying the Tab
  10. Goods Movement: Moving Freight
  11. Institutional and Workforce Capacity: Providing a Capable and Diverse Workforce
  12. Research and Innovation: Preparing for the Future

 

An abbreviated version of this document can be accessed at https://www.nap.edu/resource/25314/criticalissues/.

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019: Policy Snapshot

To spur the conversation on implementing new technologies to improve transportation and to face the unprecedented challenges facing the transportation sector in its critical role in society and the economy, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) identified and organized an array of important issues under 12 key topics. In each of these areas, TRB posed a series of crucial questions to help guide thinking, debate, and discovery during the next 5 to 10 years. These 12 topics are neither comprehensive nor mutually exclusive, and no one can know how the future will unfold. But TRB thinks that asking the right questions, even if they cannot be fully answered, helps to motivate the analysis, discussion, and debate required to prepare for the potentially unprecedented changes ahead.

These 12 key topics are as follows:

 

  1. Transformational Technologies and Services: Steering the Technology Revolution
  2. Serving a Growing and Shifting Population
  3. Energy and Sustainability: Protecting the Planet
  4. Resilience and Security: Preparing for Threats
  5. Safety and Public Health: Safeguarding the Public
  6. Equity: Serving the Disadvantaged
  7. Governance: Managing our Systems
  8. System Performance and Management: Improving the Performance of Transportation Networks
  9. Funding and Finance: Paying the Tab
  10. Goods Movement: Moving Freight
  11. Institutional and Workforce Capacity: Providing a Capable and Diverse Workforce
  12. Research and Innovation: Preparing for the Future

 

This document is an abbreviated version of a more thorough discussion of the critical issues in transportation, which can be accessed at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25314/critical-issues-in-transportation-2018.

Transportation Research Board Strategic Plan

As the entity responsible for conducting strategic planning for TRB, the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board developed the current Strategic Plan, which was adopted in June 2014. The plan includes an overview of TRB’s strengths, opportunities, limitations, and challenges, and provides details on its vision and goals, and strategies and action items TRB will employ to achieve its vision and goals. Appendices to the plan include the environmental scan, performance assessment, gap analysis, and more. An action plan for the strategic plan will be developed during the second half of 2014 and first half of 2015.

Long-Range Strategic Issues Facing the Transportation Industry

The transportation industry will face new and emerging challenges in the future that will dramatically reshape transportation priorities and needs. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes that research can help ensure that transportation practitioners are equipped to deal with future challenges facing the industry over the next 30 to 40 years. These challenges may derive from the impacts of major global trends, such as climate change, changes in the cost of fuels, and new technology, and from domestic trends, such as changing demographics and lifestyle expectations, changes in land use patterns, and limitations in current transportation finance methods. AASHTO has allocated $5,000,000 to examine longer-term strategic issues both global and domestic that will likely affect state departments of transportation (DOTs) and directed $1,000,000 to each of the following projects: (1) Potential Changes in Goods Movement and Freight in Changing Economic Systems and Demand; (2) Framework for Advance Adoption of New Technologies to Improve System Performance; (3) Approaches to Enhance Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure; (4) Effects of Changing Transportation Energy Supplies and Alternative Fuel Sources on Transportation; and (5) Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation Infrastructure and Operations, and Adaptation Approaches.

The 2008 report, “Long-Range Strategic Issues Facing the Transportation Industry” prepared by ICF International of Fairfax, Virginia, presents a framework for this effort and identifies future issues and trends, which may create new challenges for the transportation industry, based on a literature scan of work conducted by futurists, demographers, economists, and other experts. Research conducted for this project will focus on a longer timeframe (30 to 40 years) than is typically examined in NCHRP projects. Although some of the future challenges facing the transportation industry are emerging today, the goal of this research is to look beyond and focus on the longer term consequences.

Independently, and in combination, these trends may have significant implications for the transportation system. Many of the trends and forces affecting the future are interrelated and the crosscutting linkages between trends and forces that will affect transportation in the future will be examined. Research conducted for this project should consider the following two goals: (1) anticipate the future issues that may be approaching so that transportation agencies are better prepared to respond to new and emerging challenges; and (2) explore visions of what the future should look like, so that transportation agencies can help shape the future through their decision-making.

NOTE: This link is to the NCHRP project page; publications are posted separately

Critical Issues in Transportation: 2013

TRB?s Executive Committee periodically identifies a set of critical issues in transportation to focus attention on their likely impact on the nation?s economy and quality of life. The discussion of the critical issues identified in this document is intended to facilitate debate and to encourage research leading to their resolution.

Previous editions of Critical Issues in Transportation have highlighted many of the issues that threaten the performance of the nation?s transportation system. In recent years, the Executive Committee has added the need to respond to natural disasters; highlighted how transportation has become ever more linked to broader issues in society and in the economy; and drawn attention to the role transportation plays in energy and environmental issues.

Critical Issues in Transportation: 2013 is designed to stimulate awareness and debate and to focus research on (a) improving transportation system performance and resiliency, (b) reducing transportation injuries and fatalities, and (c) mitigating unsustainable environmental impacts.

The urgency of addressing the critical issues has never been greater. The Executive Committee hopes that readers will become aware of and concerned about these issues, and will join in addressing the problems in transportation so that society and the economy can reap the many benefits it offers.

AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways Strategic Plan, 2010-2014

The committee members identified ten specific and two overarching objectives and 40 related action Items that are highlighted in this plan. The two overarching objectives
relate to Technical and Governance Issues. The ten specific Objectives outlined in the plan are:
? Cut Fatalities in Half by 2030
? Performance Management
? Congestion-Free America
? Workforce Planning and Development
? System Preservation
? Research and Emerging Technology
? Project Delivery
? Climate Change and
? Freight
? Communicating the Value of Transportation