Member Exchange Meeting - Sept 14,2017 - New Transportation Technologies and the Impact on Infrastructure and Planning

Posted Date: 
September 29, 2017

The MCCC Member Exchange Meeting on Thursday, September 14, 2017 provided insights followed by a lively conversation on “New Transportation Technologies and the Impact on Infrastructure and Planning.”  Dusty Rood moderated the panel of experts that included Samrat Valani, Director of Technology Strategy, Transurban, John Bowis, President, Chevy Chase Acura, Wes Guckert, President, The Traffic Group and Emil Wolanin, Deputy Director/COO, Montgomery County Department of Transportation.

The panelists presented the forecasted progression of human-powered to robot-powered vehicles and how it will impact communities in fundamental ways. In 10 – 15 years, all new cars manufactured are projected to be fully autonomous co-existing with traditional vehicles. “RETHINK EVERYTHING” was the underlying theme. Improved road safety, reduced congestion and cleaner environments are positive outcomes of these transformative advances. 

Today, cars are enabled with disruptive technologies like EZ pass, keyless entry, Bluetooth and GPS systems. The emergence of artificial intelligence is a great influencer. Future vehicles will be “smart cars” that will be lighter, more interconnected, and self-driving.  Disruptors like Uber and Lyft are projecting their development of self-driving fleets.  Radical changes in trucking industry - and subsequent changes to that industry’s labor force - are forecasted. A reliance on transportation alternatives will increase as family car ownership trends downward. These transformations will have a big impact on insurance sectors and the built environment.

For the business community, access to labor will expand as talent is attracted by improved commutes. Public transportation becomes more viable as ‘the last mile’ improves employee access.

Federal, state and local policies are focused on road safety and autonomous vehicles offer great promise. Policies related to security, privacy, data ownership and infrastructure funding will have to be reconsidered.  Public Private Partnership investments are needed for a well-maintained infrastructure to continue to exist, especially as the gas tax and driver penalty costs diminish.

The business community has a positive role to play as advocates and partners to provide solutions.

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