The promise of autonomous vehicles is finally near to being realized and the substantial benefits to society in terms of safety, mobility, and fuel economy cannot be ignored. It is not too early for policy makers to begin to think about the challenges that lie ahead.
Though “microsleep,” commonly referred to as “highway hypnosis,” may enter the public discourse most often when it's cited as the possible cause of a disaster like the Metro-North train wreck, it is responsible for fatal accidents on American highways every day.
One of the things taken for granted in the United States is the vast network of school buses—about 26 million children ride 480,000 buses every day. But in other parts of the world, getting millions of children to and from the right school, on time, safely, and for a reasonable cost is a significant challenge.
If the “user pays” idea is worth saving, the United States needs a different calculation, writes Liisa Ecola. Some states are looking at mileage fees. With mileage fees, you pay based on the number of miles you drive, rather than the number of gallons of gas used.
Mileage-fee rates could be structured to reduce congestion, harmful emissions and excessive road wear, and the enabling technology could support a range of value-added services offering greater convenience and safety for motorists, writes Keith Crane.
It's time to consider changing the country's transportation funding scheme from one based on gallons purchased to one based on vehicle miles actually traveled, writes Liisa Ecola.
Rather than threatening that the closure will be a mess, messages appealing to citizens' public spirit that Los Angeles can pull together again to make the closure go smoothly are more likely to resonate because they are consistent with past experience, write Martin Wachs and Brian D. Taylor.
There is no need for privacy concerns to halt all discussion of new technologies to help address America's mounting transportation funding crisis, writes Liisa Ecola.
Good data can inform decision makers about what really works—how best to relieve congestion and improve supply-chain connectivity to make freight transportation—and hence the U.S. economy—more competitive, write Mortimer Downey, Joseph Schofer, and Johanna Zmud.
Our transportation future will be multi-layered and complex—bounded by transportation infrastructure that is under-funded on the one hand and ever-expanding congestion and capacity constraints on the other, writes Johanna Zmud.
A proposed 15-cents-a-gallon gas tax is worth a second look. Among various painful options put forward in the Deficit Reduction Commission's draft report, this tax hike may be well justified, writes Martin Wachs.
Drivers 65 and older are only 16 percent more likely per mile driven to cause a traffic accident than are drivers ages 25–64. And their total contribution to the nation's traffic accidents is surprisingly small, writes David S. Loughran.
The principle of paying for roads and transit by charging those who use the system has served our nation well, but in its current form it will soon outlive its usefulness, writes Martin Wachs.
While traffic congestion plagues many cities, Los Angeles stands apart, routinely ranking first for both total and per-capita congestion delay, with an estimate annual cost at close to $10 billion, writes Paul Sorensen.
President Obama's infrastructure plan doesn’t yet carry a price tag. We only know that it will be big.... The trick is how it will be done. It will not be enough to simply rebuild and repair critical infrastructure systems. We need to reinvent the systems themselves, writes Martin Wachs.
The economic slowdown threatens to put a crimp in ambitious efforts to balance preservation, transportation improvements and development in western Riverside County. It doesn't have to. Actually, it presents an opportunity, writes Lloyd Dixon.
In Support of the Congestion Charge, in Washingtonpost.com
Published commentary by RAND staff: Green But Unsafe, in Wall Street Journal, Europe Edition.
Published commentary by RAND staff: Paying for Our Transportation Needs, in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Published commentary by RAND staff: Tighten Up Mass-Transit Security, in Newsday.