University of California Transportation Center
Transportation Technologies: Implications for Planning
- Author(s): Deakin, Elizabeth
- Kim, Songju
- et al.
Transportation is rapidly being changed by new technologies, such as Intelligent Transportation Systems (including smart cards, on-board diagnostics and information systems, and smarter highways, transit, automobiles, logistics systems, and other information systems). the range of options and their impacts will continue to expand as new technologies are introduced over the next two decades, and may alter transportation systems in many ways. For example, electric, hydrogen, or hybrid electric-petroleum vehicles may be introduced that would substantially alter emissions and fuel characteristics of the fleet, and potentially pose challenges in terms of system operations and finance. Smart card technologies could greatly improve the feasibility and convenience of a variety of pricing options for road use, parking, and transit fares. Monitoring and information systems could enable travelers to time trips and select routes to avoid congestion, reducing it in the process. Advanced traffic management systems could increase road capacity significantly while improving safety and respecting other objectives such as pedestrian comfort. Over the longer run, automation could make order of magnitude improvements in safety, capacity, and convenience.
Whether and to what extent these technologies become a significant element of the transportation systems will depend, however, not only on technological developments but on both public and private decisions about the technologies' desirability and usefulness. System-wide applications and high market penetrations of new technologies are likely to have vastly different benefits and costs than the piecemeal applications that are currently proceeding.