TRB to develop Technologies Guidebook for State DOTs

Dr. John Renne will join the convening of the Transportation Research Board’s Expert Panel Workshop for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 08-117 – Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation on August 16, 2018 at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences & Engineering, Irvine, California.


The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook providing a template or procedure for practical assessment by state department of transportation (DOT) and other transportation-system decision makers of the likely impact of transformational technologies on future activity centers, land use, and travel demand, with examples illustrating application of the template to address issues encountered by these decision makers.


Many observers suggest that rapidly evolving technologies in a number of fields will have transformational impacts on land use and transportation in settings ranging from rural to intensely urban. For example, changes in telecommunication have fostered 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. Similarly, expanding applicationof 3-D printing, E-commerce, and unmanned aerial systems (UASs, popularly referred to as drones) together seem poised to shift industrial supply chains and utilization of warehouse space, leading to changes in freight transportation patterns and demand for investment in intermodal transfer facilities. 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 ensure that communities recognize the potential consequences that transformational technologies may have on their economic activity and land use and that public investments in transportation facilities and services are managed to maintain economic vitality and high quality of life.

For the purposes of this research, transformational technologies (TTs) are any of a broad range of evolving new applications of science, engineering, and societal organization that have the potential to transform how people and institutions use land and transportation systems to support economic and social activity. Examples of TTs—many are discussed in technical and popular media—include wireless telecommunications, shared vehicles, connected vehicles, automated vehicles, alternative-fuel vehicles, smart cities and communities, big data analytics, internet-of-things, as well as UASs, 3-D printing, and more. These TTs, individually and together, are already influencing on how businesses and individuals using rights-of-way, curb space and ancillary transportation facilities (for example, parking and intermodal transfer facilities), and the land and structures accommodating activities that are travel-demand intensive. Continued development and application of TTs seem likely to accelerate such impacts. Research is needed to provide guidance to assist DOT and other public-sector decision makers responsible for considering how TTs will affect travel behavior and demand for and use of land influencing transportation infrastructure and services.