Intelligent Transportation Systems

Kentucky is a leading state for logistics—the transport of goods from point of origin to point of consumption. With the growth of e-commerce as well as the expansion of Kentucky’s auto industry and other economic sectors, the state has been able to parlay its infrastructure assets and prime location into billions of dollars in investments from some of the biggest players in logistics.

During a recent webcast presented by The Council of State Governments in collaboration with The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, experts discussed vehicle telematics technology and its impact on the insurance industry.

Next month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to issue what is being billed as a model state policy as well as “best-practice guidance to industry on establishing principles of safe operation for fully autonomous vehicles.” Then, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) will follow suit with more detailed guidelines and materials in support of the policy this fall. Those two documents are likely to kick off what many believe will be a busy couple of years at the state and federal levels in determining how driverless vehicles will take the roads and the complex policy changes that may be needed to accommodate them. But while many states anxiously await that guidance, a couple are already making moves to accelerate the autonomous future in significant ways.

A new Congress this year could decide the long-term future of federal surface transportation programs after years of uncertainty that have had a huge impact for states and their planning processes. Meanwhile, 2015 could bring significant activity in state capitals on transportation funding initiatives. Public-private partnerships and tolling seem likely to continue their evolution after what was a pivotal year in 2014. With transportation funding scarce, the process of planning and approving transportation projects is under new scrutiny as well and appears likely to be influenced by a growing number of new metrics and methodologies, technological, demographic and lifestyle changes, and other factors. The struggles to increase transportation investment at the federal and state levels continue despite what appears to be solid evidence of the job creation and economic growth potential of investment, as evidenced by the actions of some of America’s biggest economic competitors. Here’s my expanded article on the top 5 issues in transportation for 2015 and a selection of additional CSG and non-CSG resources where you can read more.

Day two of the CSG Transportation Policy Academy in Washington, DC included a transportation policy roundtable featuring a variety of transportation stakeholders and experts. The final panel of the morning featured: Emil Frankel, a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, former U.S. Department of Transportation official during the Bush Administration and veteran of previous CSG Transportation Policy Academies; Sarah Kline, Research Director for the DC-based advocacy coalition Transportation for America, former Senate staffer and D.C.-area transit official; and Paul Feenstra, Senior Vice President for Government and External Affairs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). They discussed the prospects for MAP-21 reauthorization, how local communities are energized to invest in transportation options, how technology solutions can help communities get the most out of existing infrastructure, the shortcomings of transportation project planning processes and how MAP-21’s focus on performance measurement may help improve them.

Ten state legislators from around the country, many of them transportation committee chairs or vice chairs in their respective states, attended the invitation-only CSG Transportation Policy Academy October 28-30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The event included a panel discussion on the transportation funding packages approved this year in Maryland and Virginia. Attendees met with members of Congress and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation. They toured transportation projects in Maryland and got a briefing on vehicle-to-vehicle technology at Toyota's Government Affairs office. In addition, the group took part in a transportation policy roundtable that included stakeholders and experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Eno Center for Transportation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Bipartisan Policy Center, Transportation for America and ITS America. The discussion focused on such topics as the state of the nation's infrastructure, the federal role in transportation, the role of the business community in encouraging infrastructure investment, the chances for a new federal surface transportation bill and the future of transportation funding and the federal-state-local partnership on transportation. This page includes links to additional pages highlighting various portions of the policy academy and including extended remarks from speakers, additional resources and further reading.

Before I depart for the long holiday weekend, I thought I would pass along some transportation policy-related links you might want to peruse in between turkey sandwiches, Black Friday sales and endless football over the coming days. There are items below about some potential new transportation leaders in Washington, a starter list of states that might address transportation revenue needs next year, and more.

A new report says Chicago could reduce congestion and increase mobility by building a $12 billion, 275-mile regional network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes among other infrastructure projects. The report comes just as several HOT lane projects prepare to come online in other parts of the country, as some toll road projects suffer growing pains, and as new data shows all-electronic tolling may now cost less to collect than fuel taxes. Here are some updates on recent developments.

You could be forgiven for not even realizing that Congress actually passed a transportation authorization bill last week, nearly three years after the previous one officially expired. After all, it was kind of a busy news week what with that Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act and all. Of course it may also have been that despite the months of hard fought negotiations that led to the bill’s passage, the $105 billion finished product seemed less like an ultimate victory to some and more like just another step along the road. The Hill newspaper had a list this week of their winners and losers from the transportation bill debate among Washington politicos and interest groups. But how did transportation policy and all it impacts actually fare? Here’s a look at some of the transportation winners and losers to emerge from passage of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (or MAP-21 for short).

As 2012 dawns, there is still no agreement on new legislation to authorize federal surface  transportation programs, and much of the transportation funding states received from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is gone. While some state and territorial governments (“the states”) have used this time of uncertainty at the federal level to move forward on their own to creatively fund infrastructure improvements, others appear to be hunkering down, making the decision to do only maintenance on existing facilities and hoping they can ride out the lack of revenues, shaky economy and growing infrastructure needs until better times are upon us. Here are the top five issues in transportation for 2012.