The Transformation of Transportation

The Transformation of Transportation

Mile Marker

Summer 2018

Study Looks at How We’ll Get From Here to There as Caltrans Plans for Future.

New technology, evolving economic and societal directions, and a changing climate are creating a seismic shift in the way California moves people and goods — and that makes transportation planning particularly challenging.

A new study commissioned by Caltrans suggests that the field of transportation is in the midst of a transformation not experienced since the invention of the automobile.

There are many intriguing possibilities and trends emerging, according to the Future of Mobility White Paper, which is intended to inform Caltrans planners who will lay the groundwork for California’s transportation network into 2050.

“The rapid changes in the transportation industry will dramatically alter California’s transportation system and affect the way Caltrans operates,” said Chris Schmidt, Caltrans’ Division Chief of Transportation Planning. “The Department will have to develop and implement realistic policies while taking into account rapidly changing technological advancements, many of which continue to evolve and new ones emerge.”

The revolution in moving people and goods has already arrived. In just the last five years, ride-sourcing companies such as Uber and Lyft, car-sharing services like Getaround and car2go, and bike-sharing businesses such as Spin and Ford GoBike have expanded market share. Autonomous vehicles are a reality, drones and self-driving trucks could shake up the goods-moving industry, and technologies considered unthinkable a decade ago — such as hyperloop and air taxis — are no longer just science fiction imagination.

Not only are modes of transportation changing, but major advancements have been made in vehicle safety technology. The refinement of on-board cameras, radar and sensors have led to the development of accident avoidance systems that warn of possible collisions, lane departures or oncoming pedestrians, as well as advanced braking assistance and adaptive cruise control.

The transformative changes described in the white paper study will be considered as Caltrans begins preparing its California Transportation Plan 2050, a long-range look at state transportation trends. State law requires Caltrans to update its transportation plan every five years, and the next one is due in 2020. For the white paper study, a Caltrans team worked for about a year with the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley.

Read the full article in Mile Marker here (Page 18):

Read the Future of Mobility White Paper here:



Posted on

July 25, 2018