Infrastructure and Transportation

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RAND research addresses the challenges of developing, managing, and protecting energy, transportation, water, communications, and other critical infrastructure throughout the world.

  • Flooding in Pittsburgh,  photo by Artem S/Getty Images

    Research Brief

    Green Infrastructure Can Help Manage Rainfall in an Urban Watershed

    Oct 29, 2020

    Urbanization, inadequate investment in aging infrastructure, and more-frequent heavy rainfall events due to climate change have led to sewer overflows, flooding, and reduced water quality in U.S. cities. The challenges of increasing volumes of stormwater can be addressed by a mix of solutions.

  • A traffic jam on the 5 freeway heading south in Orange County, California, photo by MCCAIG/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Navigating Speed Bumps to a Possible Federal Vehicle Miles Traveled Fee

    Mar 26, 2021

    It's been clear for years that the gas tax has been losing its ability to pay for America's existing roads and bridges, let alone improvements and new construction. A vehicle miles traveled fee could provide a potential option for a 21st-century transportation funding system.

Explore Infrastructure and Transportation

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • The SolarWinds logo is seen outside its headquarters in Austin, Texas, December 18, 2020, photo by Sergio Flores/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unconventional Supply Network Operations: A New Frontier in Global Competition

    The technological advances of recent decades that have made supply networks drastically more efficient, valuable, and essential to every element of our daily lives have also created a highly interdependent, largely unsecured portfolio of potential attack surfaces.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Employees assemble ventilator components behind a plastic curtain at a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, April 21, 2020, photo by Daniel Acker/Reuters

    Commentary

    Supply Chains and National Security

    Lessons from the pandemic will be sorted through for years. But one thing seems very clear: The United States is not ready in a policy or infrastructure or even physical-capacity sense to respond to major shocks to its supply chains.

    Apr 12, 2021

  • SpaceX Starlink mission, photo by SpaceX/ CC BY 2.0

    Commentary

    Satellite Internet Services—Fostering the Dictator's Dilemma?

    The ability to provide relatively low cost internet access outside of government control is both a challenge for authoritarian states and an opportunity for democracies. What are low-altitude, low-latency satellites and why are authoritarian states so concerned?

    Apr 12, 2021

  • A flooded road during Hurricane Sally in Gulf Shores, Alabama, September 16, 2020, photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Loose-Fit Infrastructure Can Better Account for Climate Change

    As climate change accelerates there is a growing disconnect between what our infrastructure systems can do and what we need them to do. Policymakers should view infrastructure investments as not simply hardware fixes and upgrades, but as efforts to close this gap.

    Apr 8, 2021

  • United States Postal Service workers load mail into delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, August 22, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    The U.S. Post Office Is a Public Service, Not a Business

    As Congress and the White House debate how to assist the USPS, it will be important to understand the impacts of proposed cost-cutting measures not only on mail delivery of vital services, on smaller and rural communities, and on low-income communities where last-mile delivery is especially important for residents, but also on the broader public safety and security functions USPS performs.

    Apr 6, 2021

  • The exterior of the Tom Harkin Global Communications Center, otherwise known as Building 19, located on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Roybal Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Report

    Trust in the CDC Declined During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    From May to October 2020, some Americans lost trust in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drop in trust was particularly significant among people who intended to vote for a candidate other than Joe Biden in the 2020 election or did not intend to vote at all. This suggests that views of the CDC are now strongly politicized.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Improving Behavioral Health Care for Remote Service Members: Three Key Priorities

    Service members who are geographically remote from a military treatment facility may face unique challenges accessing high-quality behavioral health care. RAND research identified three key priority areas for the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Public Trust of the Centers for Disease Control Falls During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Public trust in the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has fallen during the coronavirus pandemic, with the decline bringing overall population-level trust in the agency to the same lower level of trust long held by Black Americans about the agency.

    Apr 5, 2021

  • Blog

    Understanding Violent Extremism, 'Blockships,' VMT Fee: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on firsthand accounts of violent extremism, lessons from the recent blockage in the Suez Canal, and if a federal Vehicle Miles Travel fee could replace the gas tax.

    Apr 2, 2021

  • Workers on a bridge over the Grand River near Portland, Michigan, February 12, 2021, photo by Kristi Tanner/Detroit Free Press/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters

    Commentary

    Now Is (Finally) the Time to Future-Proof Our Infrastructure

    The world is barreling toward a more volatile climate with infrastructure designed for the past. With infrastructure widely expected to be prioritized in Congress soon, every infrastructure bill is also a climate bill. It is critical that we make our infrastructure climate-safe.

    Apr 1, 2021

  • The Sodium Guidestar at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Starfire Optical Range resides on a 6,240 foot hilltop at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, photo by U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Third Offset Fostered Real Intellectual Change Within DoD

    In 2014, U.S. defense leaders began promoting the Third Offset, a strategy centered on the potential of technology to offset Chinese and Russian advances. Its core principles were adopted by the 2018 National Defense Strategy. DoD started to look at security problems in a new light and develop closer ties with Silicon Valley.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • The modern creative communication and internet network connect in smart city, photo by Blue Planet Studio/AdobeStock

    Multimedia

    U.S.-Japan Alliance Conference: Advancing Cooperation on Defense and Strategic Technology

    In its ongoing U.S.-Japan Alliance conference series, RAND hosted two virtual events in February 2021 to tackle important topics facing the United States and Japan.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Digital network connection lines of Sathorn intersection, Bangkok Downtown, Thailand. Photo by tampatra / Adobe Stock

    Report

    Developing Metrics and Scoring Procedures to Support Mitigation Grant Program Decisionmaking

    To develop metrics that can inform decisionmaking for awarding predisaster mitigation grants, the authors established three lines of effort (LoEs) for analysis. Each LoE produced a metric or framework that could support grant decisionmaking.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • A Special Tactics Airman surveys a target following close air support training during RED FLAG-Alaska 18-3 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, August 16, 2018, photo by Tech. Sgt. Sandra Welch/U.S. Air Force

    Report

    Geographic Barriers to Behavioral Health Care May Put Remote Service Members at Risk

    Remote service members with PTSD, depression, or substance use disorder face challenges accessing high-quality behavioral health care through the Military Health System. They see primary care and private-sector providers for such care and are less likely to receive psychotherapy.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • News Release

    News Release

    Geographic Barriers to Behavioral Health Care May Put Remote Service Members at Risk

    Remote service members may face challenges accessing and receiving high-quality behavioral health care through the Military Health System, putting them at a greater risk for negative outcomes related to behavioral health issues.

    Mar 31, 2021

  • Stranded ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it ran aground, in the Suez Canal, March 28, 2021, photo by Suez Canal Authority/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    The Suez Grounding Was an Accident. The Next Blocked Chokepoint Might Not Be

    The recent spectacle of a hulking container ship wedged into the Suez Canal is a reminder of how vulnerable maritime transportation is to blocked chokepoints. The fragility of maritime lifelines may encourage the use of this tactic in future conflict.

    Mar 30, 2021

  • Report

    Report

    Independent Evaluation of the Transportation Working Capital Fund: Assessment and Recommendations to Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency

    The authors assess the financial viability and current structure of the Transportation Working Capital Fund, which funds U.S. Transportation Command operations, and recommend ways to restructure the fund to improve its effectiveness and efficiency.

    Mar 25, 2021

  • Hawaiian Electric contractors deliver six 159-ton generators to the 50-megawatt power plant being constructed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, July 20, 2017, photo courtesy of Hawaiian Electric Company via U.S. Defense Department

    Commentary

    The Pentagon Could Help Improve Resilience of the U.S. Electric Grid

    The resilience and robustness of the U.S. electric grid needs to be improved, especially given the likely increased occurrence and magnitude of natural disasters due to climate change. This is where government entities that operate large facilities in the United States, such as the Department of Defense, can potentially play a role.

    Mar 25, 2021