Transportation and Infrastructure Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access transportation and infrastructure research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at ocr@rand.org or (703) 413-1100 x5643.

Recent Findings

  • Central America on a globe, photo by Bobtokyoharris/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Human Smuggling Operations from Central America to the United States

    Apr 22, 2019

    Smuggling unlawful migrants from Central America to the United States generated between $200 million and $2.3 billion for human smugglers in 2017. The wide range reflects uncertainty about the number of migrants, their use of smugglers, and the fees they pay. Transnational criminal organizations are only one type of actor involved.

  • Three tiny satellites photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station, October 4, 2012, photo by NASA

    Commentary

    Space Safety Coordination: A Norm for All Nations

    Apr 16, 2019

    As space becomes more congested with satellites of all sizes and types, the need for every nation to actively participate in the space safety coordination system grows. Most spacefaring countries participate, but a few countries do not—notably, Russia and China. That creates greater potential for collisions and hazards from debris.

  • Engineers are using this specially constructed five-story building to study how high-value buildings, such as hospitals and data centers, can remain operational after an earthquake, in San Diego, California, April 17, 2012, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Report

    Seismic Safety Upgrades May Cost California Hospitals Billions

    Mar 28, 2019

    California hospitals are required by law to reduce their buildings' risk of collapse by 2020 and to remain operational after an earthquake by 2030. Hospitals have to pay for the upgrades, which could cost between $34 billion and $143 billion statewide. One third of California hospitals are already in some form of financial distress.

  • Mock Bitcoins are displayed in Berlin, January 7, 2014, photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    Report

    Terrorist Use of Cryptocurrencies

    Mar 27, 2019

    Counterterrorism finance strategies have reduced terrorist access to official currencies. Will terrorist groups therefore increase their use of digital cryptocurrencies? New ones have emerged, including some that claim to be more private and secure than Bitcoin, but they also have limitations that make them less viable.

  • Five glasses of water, with dirty water in the center, photo by hdere/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How to Ensure Quality Drinking Water Service for All? One Option Is Fewer Utilities.

    Mar 26, 2019

    California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” One clear barrier to reaching this target is the sheer number of small water utilities that pose service sustainability and public health risks to their customers.

More Research on Transportation and Infrastructure

Briefings

  • Two construction workers/engineers examine a project

    Fixing What's Broken with Infrastructure Policy: Options for Congress

    Jan 24, 2018

    An infrastructure bill is on the agenda for Congress, but what problems would it fix? In a RAND Congressional Briefing, Debra Knopman will discuss policies that promote and deter investment and maintenance of water and transportation infrastructure.

  • Highway traffic

    A New Way to Pay for Transportation: Exploring a Shift from Fuel Taxes to Mileage-Based User Fees

    Jun 26, 2014

    Increasing fuel efficiency and the rise of alternative fuel vehicles that do not use gasoline have led to growing shortfalls in federal and state funding for surface transportation programs — shortfalls that are likely to become even more acute in coming years. In this Congressional Briefing, Liisa Ecola will discuss innovations in the use of mileage-based fees.

  • A Google self-driven car in Las Vegas, Nevada

    "Self Driving" Vehicles: Great Benefits, but Barriers to Widespread Adoption

    Mar 24, 2014

    After examining the advantages and disadvantages of autonomous vehicles, RAND researchers determined that the overall societal benefits of this new technology likely outweigh the disadvantages. Senior behavioral scientist James Anderson will present the study results.

  • Atlanta traffic and skyline

    The Future of Mobility: Transportation 2030

    Dec 3, 2013

    What will transportation look like in the United States in the year 2030? Multiple mobility scenarios are possible. Come hear how policymakers and planners can shape the future of mobility in the United States and what factors will influence the creation of the future transportation system.

  • Aerial views of Hurricane Sandy damage to homes on Long Beach

    Adapting to Climate Change on the Coast: Lessons from Louisiana for Federal Policy

    Jan 23, 2013

    What can be done to reduce the chances of widespread disaster when the next "Sandy" hits? Jordan Fischbach will discuss how climate change and other long-term challenges can affect coasts and the tools federal or state policymakers will need to address them.

More Transportation and Infrastructure Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about transportation and infrastructure.

  • Traffic

    Considering Transportation and Infrastructure in the 116th Congress

    Feb 19, 2019

    What are the biggest transportation and infrastructure issues facing the 116th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including autonomous vehicles, infrastructure and roadway safety, the Coast Guard, and more.

  • Traffic

    Zero Traffic Deaths by 2050

    Apr 23, 2018

    More than 100 Americans die in motor vehicle crashes every day. The traffic safety community is working together toward the goal of bringing that number down to zero by 2050. Scenario planning has uncovered several ways federal policymakers can help make the vision of zero traffic deaths a reality.

  • The West bound roadway of the new Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge that is to replace the current Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River is seen ahead of on opening ceremony for the bridge in Tarrytown, New York, U.S., August 24, 2017

    In Case You Missed It: Fixing What's Broken with Infrastructure Policy

    Feb 14, 2018

    Across the United States, transportation and water infrastructure needs vary greatly. Debra Knopman discusses what Congress should consider when addressing infrastructure funding.

  • Chickamauga Lock and Dam, near Chattanooga, Tennessee

    Ten Options for Congress to Improve Infrastructure

    Jan 4, 2018

    What can Congress do to better align policy and spending to public priorities for U.S. infrastructure? Increased federal spending may do some good, but it will not fix what is broken in our approach to funding and financing public works—and not everything is broken.

  • A self-driving car being developed by nuTonomy

    Autonomous Vehicles: How Safe is Safe Enough?

    Nov 13, 2017

    When considering regulations for autonomous vehicles, safety is a critical question. RAND researchers found that introducing autonomous vehicles when they are just better than human drivers—as opposed to nearly perfect—could save hundreds of thousands of lives over 30 years.

  • A line of Lexus SUVs equipped with Google self-driving sensors awaits test riders in Mountain View, California, September 29, 2015

    In Case You Missed It: Approaches and Challenges to Realizing Autonomous Vehicle Safety

    Mar 2, 2017

    Before autonomous vehicles can usher in a new era of safer transportation, there are several challenges to address. Policymakers can help improve autonomous vehicle safety by facilitating pilot studies and data-sharing.

  • Motorcycle and cars on a highway

    Getting the Most from Traffic Safety Funding

    Jan 29, 2016

    What if the United States invested just 10 percent more—$57.9 million—in traffic safety? A new RAND tool examines how this increase may impact safety outcomes such as lives saved and injury prevention.

  • liquor and keys

    24/7 Sobriety Project: A Promising New Way to Curb Problem Drinking and Reduce Costs

    Aug 20, 2015

    Recently, the Senate took steps to expand funding for 24/7 Sobriety Programs, like one in South Dakota. These programs are a promising and innovative way to help curb problem drinking and improve public health.

  • Traffic jam on a highway

    The Mileage Fee Alternative: Benefits and Challenges

    May 19, 2015

    With the ongoing challenges of transportation funding, some lawmakers have begun to explore a shift from taxing fuel to taxing a vehicle's miles of travel. An objective look at this solution outlines advantages, core challenges, and recent innovations that states are exploring through pilot programs.

  • Los Angeles 405 freeway traffic

    Mileage Fees: An Alternative to the Gas Tax?

    Apr 15, 2014

    Some state and federal policymakers have begun to explore a shift from taxing fuel to taxing a vehicle's miles of travel instead. A short, easy-to-understand guide by RAND researchers outlines the potential advantages and core challenges of such mileage fees.

  • RAND.org's Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

    Mar 20, 2014

    RAND.org has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

  • Houses are partially submerged in flood waters after a Hurricane Isaac levee breach in Braithwaite, Louisiana August 31, 2012

    RAND Can Help Policymakers Strengthen Coastal Resilience

    Mar 13, 2014

    Tools developed by RAND for use in Louisiana can help policymakers in other coastal states weigh complex decisions on the many possible strategies to prevent coastal land loss, reduce flood risks, rebuild or restore coastal environments, and otherwise increase the resilience of developed coastlines.

  • Volunteers from the North Carolina Southern Baptists help clean out some apartments that were flooded during Hurricane Sandy

    Online Training: Building Resilient Communities

    Nov 18, 2013

    Today, city planners, nongovernmental organizations, philanthropists, and government leaders are grappling with the challenge of creating disaster-resilient cities. RAND's new easy-to-use, self-guided online training shows organizations and communities how to strengthen their resilience.

  • Pump nozzles at the gas station

    Does America's Gasoline Tax Still Make Sense?

    Apr 3, 2013

    The cost of gasoline experienced an unusually large increase this February, with prices climbing more than 40 cents per gallon. Yet not a single penny of that increase went toward improving America's roads.

  • Aerial views of Hurricane Sandy damage to homes on Long Beach

    Hill Briefing on RAND's Contributions to Louisiana Coastal Planning

    Mar 19, 2013

    In a January 2013 Congressional Briefing, Jordan Fischbach describes RAND's work on the 2012 Coastal Master Plan and key lessons that can make other communities more resilient in the face of natural disasters.

  • Mileage Fees: Options for Policymakers

    Feb 8, 2013

    A new primer outlines for state and local decisionmakers the potential advantages of mileage fees, functional requirements and technical options for implementing them, core challenges in replacing fuel taxes with mileage fees, and recent innovations that states are exploring in pilot tests.

  • In Sandy's Wake, Policy Lessons for the Northeast

    Nov 16, 2012

    New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut policymakers reeling from Hurricane Sandy can draw on the Gulf region's experience with response and recovery from catastrophic hurricanes.

  • Louisiana Offers Lessons in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

    Nov 14, 2012

    Northeastern policymakers reeling from Hurricane Sandy can draw on the Gulf region's experience with response and recovery. As they go forward, they can also look at the measures Louisiana has developed to reduce the risk of storm damage.

  • 11 Years After 9/11, a Call for Sweeping Review of Aviation Security

    Sep 14, 2012

    TSA is performing well under extraordinary difficulties, but there is still need for vast improvement. As attack tactics have continued to evolve, the need for security has resulted in an increasing number of layers—and frustrations—for passengers.

  • Hurricane Isaac flooding St. John the Baptist Parish

    Better Preparedness for Natural Disasters

    Sep 4, 2012

    Hurricane Isaac made landfall just before September, which is National Disaster Preparedness month. Although Isaac was a weaker Category 1 Hurricane, many areas of the Gulf Coast evacuated the population, and federal, state, and local governments are responding to the flood damage. But are there areas for improvement?

  • A More Effective TSA

    Aug 23, 2012

    As airport security lines get longer, travelers continue to ask: are all the baggage screenings, shoe removals, and pat-downs worth the extra time and hassle? RAND researchers assess the costs and benefits of aviation security interventions in order to help policymakers decide on potential changes to the system.

  • Gearing Up for Hurricane Season and Building Resilience

    Aug 23, 2012

    FEMA's National Preparedness Month in September kicks off hurricane season and encourages Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies. RAND research aims to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters.

  • How Much Could Sharing Rather Than Owning Vehicles Reduce Greenhouse-Gas Emissions?

    Jul 9, 2012

    Energy services analysis finds that a typical driver who shifts from owning a car to participating in a vehicle-sharing program would likely emit 893 kilograms (almost 2,000 pounds) of CO2 equivalent per year less than if he or she continued to own a car.

  • How Federal, State, and Local Governments Can Help Build Resilient Communities in the Gulf States

    May 24, 2012

    RAND has implemented and evaluated community resilience-building activities worldwide and identified opportunities to integrate governments with the non-profit and for-profit sectors in public health and emergency preparedness, infrastructure protection, and development of economic recovery programs.

  • RAND Policy Spotlight on Flood Insurance Reform

    May 14, 2012

    The latest extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire on May 31st, just before the start of hurricane season. If NFIP is to be renewed, Congress needs to act soon.


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