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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Relationship Between Transportation and Innovation

  • Author(s): Garrison, William L.
  • Souleyrette, Reginald R., II
  • et al.

Our purpose is to highlight an overlooked impact of transportation improvements -- the ways improvements stimulate innovation and the development of technologies. Social and economic progress is then achieved through the use of new technologies. Does consideration of technological impacts clarify understandings of transportation improvements?

Using IVHS as a case at point, we will treat that question after providing a classification of impacts and discussing the mechanisms yielding impacts. Although recognizing that there are many factors involved, we will highlight technology as the engine of economic and social progress. We regard technologies as ways of doing things embodied in human skills, products, processes and institutions.

The topic seems timely. Such recent initiatives as the Oresund bridge in Malmo-Copenhagen, high speed rail and Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems (IVHS) all beg impact questions. Transportation's close cousin, communications, is undergoing remarkable improvements. The Clinton administration and others are promoting information superhighways, and many proponents claim that such superhighways will spawn technological improvements. Might transportation experiences illuminate those claims?

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