National Academies Press: OpenBook

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (2018)

Chapter: System Performance and Asset Management

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Page 19
Suggested Citation:"System Performance and Asset Management." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
Page 19
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"System Performance and Asset Management." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
Page 20

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areas and megaregions grow in significance and as sources of economic prosperity, what is the appropriate institutional form for making transportation investments at this scale given the many and complex jurisdictions and state interests?100 What institutional reforms are needed to serve the public more effectively and efficiently and how can these determinations be made? In light of the considerable experimentation going on, how can jurisdictions best learn from each other about effective strategies for meeting their regions’ multimodal transportation needs? 38. Mobility as a Service could provide real-time, traveler-specific information on travel options, thereby making both travelers better off (by allowing them to select their preferred mode of travel based on time, price, and trip time uncertainty) and society better off (by allowing travelers to consider shared driving options, thus increasing the use of modes with lower public and private costs).101 The concept of bundling mobility services into subscription programs has garnered global attention and traction, but requires solving barriers to integrated fare payments, data sharing and developing, and supporting a common mobile application that provides consumers with a fair and integrated perspective on all of their travel options. What are the appropriate public and private roles in providing Mobility as a Service by leading, supporting, or at least not inhibiting the development and deployment of such options? How can institutional and modal funding barriers be overcome and partnerships be built across levels of government and between the public and private sectors? Is the concept of regional transportation agencies as coordinators of mobility services and service contracts an institutional model worthy of consideration going forward? 39. Transformational technologies and alternate infrastructure funding strategies have intriguing implications for existing transportation institutions. If highways become more automated and are funded through direct user charges, for example, what are the appropriate institutions for operating and managing these systems most efficiently and safely, particularly for networks that span multiple jurisdictions? 40. TNCs, and potentially CAVs, generate massive amounts of data about trips, thereby providing cities that have successfully negotiated access to such information with improved awareness about services offered, safety, and network performance. Negotiated agreements and sophisticated data-sharing arrangements are needed to protect the competitiveness of the companies while also providing a boon to cities and regions trying to better manage their transportation systems.102 Data from other infrastructure and service providers can enhance overall infrastructure performance in “smart cities” by, for example, sharing real- time traffic flows with police, fire, and other emergency responders.103 Who should have access to anonymized data on items such as trip patterns and volumes,104 and who should be responsible for analyzing them? How can these data be kept secure to protect personal privacy and proprietary information? How can data from transportation be integrated with data from other sectors to improve city and regional public services? How can unconventional data sources about travel and risk exposure be used to analyze safety risks? System Performance and Asset Management Although an imperfect estimate, highway congestion may have cost the nation as much as $300 billion in 2016—$1,400 for every motorist.105 The trucking industry estimates its cost of highway congestion at $74.5 billion in the same year.106 critical issues in transportation 2019 19

Flight delays add at least another $30 billion.107 Although these costs may be overstated, ever- growing congestion indicates that the demand for transportation infrastructure is outpacing supply and imposing high costs on society. Limited opportunities and high costs to expand facilities in already congested areas will result in a greater emphasis on maximizing the performance of the existing transportation network. As travel volumes continue to grow and funding remains highly constrained, state and local agencies are struggling to add capacity and maintain the performance and condition of the nation’s infrastructure, the value of which is in the trillions of dollars.108 As part of squeezing more performance out of existing assets, transportation officials are struggling to maintain the assets’ physical condition for as long as possible. Much better estimates are needed for the life-cycle performance of materials, infrastructure designs, and deployment strategies to develop better predictive models to guide decision making. If analyses can account for local conditions, traffic, materials, and weather, such information could help maintenance managers extend the expected life and life-cycle performance for highways, bridges, rail lines, ports, waterways, and airports. Ongoing improvements in material performance, construction, and maintenance are all essential for improving the life-cycle performance of new and existing assets. Equally important are questions about how public officials can place greater priority on managing existing assets before choosing to expand them or build new ones. 41. Technological innovation may make it possible to move CAVs through existing networks more efficiently at much shorter headways on narrowed lanes without harming safety, possibly even improving it. Pricing road use, as applied in new urban express lanes, is providing some congestion relief as well as new funding for alternative modes. In the shorter term, corridor-level performance can be enhanced through the use of technologies that improve communication between vehicles and infrastructure and provide better information for travelers about system performance. How can officials responsible for public infrastructure improve the performance of the existing system of roads, public transit, airports, waterways, and ports? What types of tactics, data, vendor contracts, and tools will help? Would institutional reforms, such as transferring air traffic control to an independent public corporation or placing more highway and transit assets and operations under private management, enhance system performance? 42. Continued population growth in megaregions and urban areas promises continued growth in travel. Adding capacity to all modes of transportation in growing urban areas faces many constraints, such as the high cost of developed land, protections against trb | transportation research board20

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and equity issues will be included soon in

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019

. In this report, which is updated periodically by the TRB Executive Committee, a series of challenging questions are posed to explore issues and opportunities that may arise 10 to 20 years into the future. These questions, 63 in all, have been organized into 12 topic areas and provide a way to frame future areas of research, policy analysis, and debate.

Critical issues identified in this report deserve attention because of transportation’s central role in serving individuals and society. This document serves to sharpen society's collective understanding of transportation and its ramifications, while informing decisions by individual citizens and officials in both the public and private sectors. The issues have been identified and documented from a U.S. perspective, and are also common across developed nations.

Download the executive overview, Critical Issues in Transportation: Policy Snapshot and or visit from your mobile device.

On March 5, 2019, TRB and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cohosted a webinar that covered TRB’s Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 report and the 2019-2020 NTSB’s Most Wanted List. Presenters focused on issues of safety and security across all modes of transportation.

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