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The National Academies

NCHRP 08-117 [Completed]

Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Kittelson & Associates, Inc,
Principal Investigator: Richard Dowling, Ph.D.
Effective Date: 5/1/2018
Completion Date: 7/31/2019

A variety of rapidly evolving technologies in a number of fields seem likely to have transformational impacts on land use and transportation in settings ranging from rural to intensely urban. For example, changes in telecommunication are fostering growth of telecommuting and development of on-demand delivery and transportation services that in turn may be changing patterns of work and home locations, vehicle ownership and use, demand for parking facilities, and utilization of curb space in urban centers. Expanding applications of such technologies as 3-D printing, E-commerce, automated transit vehicles, and unmanned aerial systems (popularly referred to as drones) may shift industrial supply chains and locations of warehousing, distribution, and intermodal transfer facilities and jobs.

State departments of transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), local government authorities, and other public-sector decision makers are increasingly confronted with questions of how to consider the potential consequences that such transformational technologies may have on regional economic activity, land use, and transportation demand; and how to manage public investments in transportation facilities and services to maintain economic vitality and high quality of life. The objective of NCHRP Project 08-117 “Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation” was to provide guidance for DOT and other transportation agency decision makers on practical ways to assess the likely impact of transformational technologies on future activity centers, land use, and travel demand within their regions. 
 
The research team reviewed the literature, interviewed a variety of practitioners, and drew on their own experience to characterize transformational technologies and their likely impacts and develop a practical procedure and template for assessing these impacts in a region. The impact assessment is intended to assist responsible decision makers to foresee issues of related to transportation system investment and land development likely that may arise as a consequence of transformational technologies. NCHRP Research Report 924: Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation (publication anticipated in Fall 2019) presents guidance and examples for conducting such assessments. A pre-publication draft of the report is available to view and download here.

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