National Academies Press: OpenBook

Critical Issues in Transportation 2019 (2018)

Chapter: Governance

« Previous: Equity
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Governance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
Page 17
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Governance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Critical Issues in Transportation 2019. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25314.
Page 18

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30. Many new transportation services, such as TNCs, car sharing, and bike sharing, depend on user access to smartphones and credit cards, yet 23% of adults (57 million people) lack smartphones89 and 7% of households (9 million people) lack bank accounts and credit cards.90 How can people without bank accounts, credit cards, or smartphones gain access to new transportation services? Which transportation services and technologies, including automated vehicles, TNCs, and enhanced transit services, are best suited for maintaining independent living for the disabled and older travelers who do not drive?91 How can the addition of new barriers be avoided and the utility be maximized of technological innovations for older and disabled travelers? Many local jurisdictions in the past have mandated that taxi operators provide accessible vehicles for the disabled, as well as trained drivers to operate them, and some have added surcharges on taxis and, more recently, TNC trips, to generate revenues for this service.92 In light of the decline in taxi service since the advent of TNCs, what are better ways for local jurisdictions to fund and provide transportation services for the disabled?93 31. The number of people in poverty in suburban areas now exceeds that of cities.94 Low- density suburbs are difficult to serve well by transit. How does transportation access affect economic opportunities and outcomes for the economically disadvantaged? Which transportation technologies and policy interventions would be most effective and affordable for enhancing access to employment opportunities, health care, shopping, and education? Which transportation policies would be most successful and cost effective in addressing the growth of low-income populations in suburban and exurban areas? 32. As transportation facilities are expanded and improved to serve a growing population and economy, how can we best ensure that minority and low-income communities receive adequate service and that any adverse effects from new facilities or expanded operations do not fall disproportionately on them? 33. As general revenues and sales taxes replace user fees, it raises basic questions because (1) sales taxes are more regressive than fuel taxes and (2) the funding for transportation services becomes disconnected from its use.95 What are the implications for both fairness and efficiency resulting from this trend? What are the full consequences of alternative funding mechanisms for transportation to the accessibility of those with the least resources? How can the inequities of existing user fees be ameliorated? 34. As financially strapped public transportation agencies increasingly turn to public–private partnerships to provide new infrastructure, which typically requires some form of toll or charge to repay private investors, what are the equity implications for low-income highway users? Governance Layers of institutional complexity confound the creation of efficient transportation networks and intermodal connections in ways that even the most creative minds struggle to resolve. Devolution of federal responsibilities and funding to state and local governments in recent years has compounded the difficulties in overcoming institutional inertia due to weakening federal incentives and leadership in addressing multi-state problems. Transportation infrastructure and services in the United States have long been provided or regulated at multiple levels of government, including municipalities, cities, counties, special districts, regional planning organizations, states, and federal agencies, each of which has a role in planning, funding, and managing some aspect of transportation infrastructure. Many transportation functions such as public transit, airports, critical issues in transportation 2019 17

waterways, and ports are also planned for, or provided, through thousands of special authorities. Added to this mix is the interdependence of the public and private sectors as private trucks, aircraft, barges, and ships use public infrastructure for the movement of people and freight and the growing dependence on private companies to finance, build, manage, and maintain public infrastructure. The transportation systems that support metropolitan areas and megaregions typically span myriad jurisdictional lines, raising questions about which level of government should be responsible for, and what aspects of, network planning, funding, and management are appropriate for these evolving and increasingly important geographies. As metropolitan areas grow into megaregions spanning multiple states, questions arise about institutional reform, as well as models of successful cross-agency cooperation,96 that facilitate the establishment of integrated and efficient transportation networks. The dependence of private carriers on public infrastructure raises important questions about the appropriate regulations to ensure that private carriers pay their fair share, have a level playing field for competition, and serve the public interest. 35. States and local governments are assuming greater responsibility for transportation services and infrastructure in response to a declining federal role and reduced funding support. How does this shift in the federal role and support affect state and local commitment to facilitating interstate and international commerce? How is devolution affecting net infrastructure investment across all levels of government? Cross-border coordination among states in planning and policy making is a major gap, particularly with regard to freight movements. Metropolitan areas that host major ocean ports and airports that serve international and interstate commerce bear the brunt of local noise and traffic caused by these facilities. What best practices can be put in place to ensure effective and equitable treatment of these cross-border externalities? 36. Major bottlenecks to traffic flows spanning modes and jurisdictions are well known, but are particularly hard problems to solve. The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program is an example of a $30 billion-plus list of projects, far from funded, that involve rail systems, highways, public transportation, and multiple private carriers and public jurisdictions.97 The New York/New Jersey Gateway program,98 a critical node on the most heavily trafficked passenger rail corridor in the country, is another example of an unfunded, high-cost local project that affects travel across multiple states. How can financial, institutional, and competitive barriers be overcome to reduce nationally significant bottlenecks at large-scale, complex transportation facilities? 37. Hundreds of metropolitan planning organizations exist, but many are too limited in scope and scale to take on multimodal planning for transportation at the metropolitan- wide or megaregion scale.99 As metropolitan trb | transportation research board18

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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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