In 2008, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) initiated Project 20-83, “Long-Term Strategic Issues Facing the Transportation Industry,” and subsequently selected seven projects that are examining the affects of relevant domestic and global megatrends on state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the future. Collectively, this research will look forward 3 to 5 decades and develop plausible scenarios that describe the factors that may drive or influence state transportation agencies’ delivery of transportation services. The research will identify opportunities for agencies to be proactive in how they monitor and respond to pending social, economic, environmental, and technological factors affecting these scenarios. Research conducted in this series of projects considers the following two goals: (1) anticipating the future issues that may be approaching so that transportation agencies are better prepared to respond to new and emerging challenges and (2) exploring visions of what the future should look like, so that transportation agencies can help shape the future through their decisionmaking. The seven active projects include: (01) Potential Changes in Goods Movement and Freight in Changing Economic Systems and Demand; (02) Framework for Advance Adoption of New Technologies to Improve System Performance; (03) Approaches to Enhance Preservation, Maintenance, and Renewal of Highway Infrastructure; (04) Effects of Changing Transportation Energy Supplies and Alternative Fuel Sources on Transportation; (05) Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Transportation Infrastructure and Operations, and Adaptation Approaches; (06) Effects of Socio-Demographics on Travel Demand; and (07) Sustainable Transportation Systems and Sustainability as an Organizing Principle for Transportation Agencies.These projects represent a significant effort to understand a number of issues and opportunities that DOTs may face, but they may not capture all important possibilities.
At a December 8-9, 2010 workshop held the Keck Center of The National Acadeies, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Standing Committee on Research and invited guests reviewed the status of the seven projects in the the NCHRP 20-83 series, and heard presentations from speakers that addressed trends in scieice and technology innovation from outside of the transportation industry.
The workshop report containing summaries of speaker presentations and the scan of scientific and technological advances occurring in non-transportation fields is available here.
The presentation materials used by Mr. Alex LIghtman are available here.