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.

  • Apartment buildings under construction in Carlsbad, California, May 24, 2017, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Commentary

    California Needs 1.2 Million New Homes. How Will It Get There?

    May 13, 2022

    Voluntary incentives foster increased production of affordable housing, while mandates alone increase the cost of producing housing, dampening both market-rate and affordable housing production. It is well past time to acknowledge the evidence and focus on the adoption of voluntary programs that incentivize the rapid creation of dense, infill housing available at both affordable and market rents.

  • An older man boarding a bus via the wheelchair access ramp, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

    Report

    Transportation Equity for Older Adults

    Jun 3, 2022

    As individual mobility challenges increase and driving ability declines, travel for older adults can be inconvenient, costly, slow, uncomfortable, burdensome, or even impossible. A new framework can help communities understand older adults' transportation needs and whether they are being met.

Explore Infrastructure and Transportation

  • 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

    As space becomes more congested with satellites, 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.

    Apr 16, 2019

  • A cache of guns and ammunition uncovered by U.S. federal investigators in the home of U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson in Silver Spring, Maryland, February 20, 2019, photo by U.S. Attorney's Office Maryland/Reuters

    Commentary

    Overdue Overhaul: Security Clearance Reform in a Decade of Leakers, Spies, and Insider Threats

    With the legislative and executive branches seemingly on the same page regarding the need for changes to the security clearance and vetting system, long overdue reform appears to be within reach.

    Apr 15, 2019

  • Blog

    Cryptocurrency, Russian Social Media, Congestion Pricing: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on cryptocurrencies, Russian social media influence, congestion pricing, and more.

    Mar 29, 2019

  • News Release

    News Release

    Seismic Safety Upgrades May Cost California Hospitals Billions, Increase Number of Hospitals in Financial Distress

    After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, in which 11 hospitals were damaged and eight were evacuated, California adopted SB1953, which aims to improve hospital resilience to seismic events. The law requires hospitals to reduce their buildings' risk of collapse by 2020 and to remain operational after an earthquake by 2030. California hospitals would need to make substantial investments to meet 2030 state seismic safety standards.

    Mar 28, 2019

  • 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

    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.

    Mar 28, 2019

  • 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.

    California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” 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.

    Mar 26, 2019

  • Department of Water and Power employees assess the damage from a broken 30-inch water main on Sunset Boulevard, next to the UCLA campus in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, July 30, 2014, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Water Systems Can Learn From Smart Electric Grids

    As drought and population growth place increasing pressure on water supply, the need to save and efficiently manage Southern California's water resources becomes increasingly critical. A single information and communication technology platform could go a long way toward moving water utilities from reactive to proactive maintenance practices.

    Mar 22, 2019

  • Blog

    Christchurch, Brexit, China and Israel: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the Christchurch shootings, how the UK can improve its post-Brexit prospects, China and Israel's evolving relationship, and more.

    Mar 22, 2019

  • Interior of autonomous car with ones and zeroes superimposed, photo by metamorworks/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Why AV Safety and Cybersecurity Need to Be Pursued in Tandem

    Safety and cybersecurity are generally pursued by separate teams within autonomous vehicle companies. A joint approach to standards could optimize safety and cybersecurity and reduce overall risks to autonomous vehicle operation.

    Mar 20, 2019

  • An F-16 fighter jet lands at a U.S. Air Force base in Osan, South Korea, April 3, 2013, photo by Lee Jae Won/Reuters

    Commentary

    'Cost Plus 50' Explained

    The Trump administration may be considering requiring host nations to subsidize the entire cost of the U.S. military presence and pay an additional 50 percent of that amount. This type of transactional foreign policy increases the risk that countries will rethink their agreements to host U.S. forces, and that could reduce the U.S. military's ability to operate globally.

    Mar 15, 2019

  • Oil barrel leaking oil grass, photo by RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Increasing Groundwater Reliance in L.A. County Means Dealing with Extensive Contamination

    As the Los Angeles region increases its reliance on groundwater sources to become more resilient in the face of drought and to reduce demand for imported water sources, advances in the information available on groundwater quality and contamination could help community water systems avoid health hazards and better ensure a safe drinking water supply.

    Mar 12, 2019

  • A man visits the Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels, Belgium, March 5, 2019, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Public Evidence of Huawei as a Cyber Threat May Be Elusive, but Restrictions Could Still Be Warranted

    Although a “smoking gun” of Huawei involvement in government-directed espionage remains elusive, the United States has compelling security and economic reasons to consider limiting the involvement of Chinese telecommunications companies in its domestic networks.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • A stretch of Hadrian's Wall at Walton's Crags in Northumberland, England, photo by Gannet77/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Hadrian's Wall Was a Policy Statement; So Is Donald Trump's

    It's not clear if Hadrian's Wall was necessary to prevent Scottish fighters from invading the Roman Empire. Neither is it clear how effective Trump's wall would be at repelling undocumented immigration and smugglers. Hadrian's Wall may have been of symbolic value to those on both sides of it. Trump's could be, too.

    Mar 6, 2019

  • A Russian nuclear icebreaker cuts a path through the Arctic photo by SeppFriedhuber/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How Not to Compete in the Arctic

    The Arctic defies simplistic views of geopolitical friends and foes. The United States and its allies do not necessarily agree on key issues, while U.S. strategic competitors might find common ground with America. The United States could fine-tune its defense policy tools in the Arctic to ensure that its actions do not hamper relations with allies and shore up the position of adversaries.

    Feb 27, 2019

  • Cyborg head using artificial intelligence to create digital interface 3D rendering, image by sdecoret/Adobe Stock

    Q&A

    The Promise and Perils of AI: Q&A with Douglas Yeung

    Douglas Yeung, a social psychologist at RAND, discusses how any technology reflects the values, norms, and biases of its creators. Bias in artificial intelligence could have unintended consequences. He also warns that cyber attackers could deliberately introduce bias into AI systems.

    Feb 27, 2019

  • Skyline of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, illustration by Malte Muller

    Essay

    Resilience and Adaptation Strategies Can Address the Impacts of Climate Change

    With climate change already generating storms, heat waves, and droughts beyond historical norms, local governments need to do more to prepare. A decisionmaking framework developed by RAND allows communities to stress-test ideas, weigh the trade-offs, and plan for a range of possible futures.

    Feb 26, 2019

  • Blog

    Shutdown, Hezbollah, Border Wall: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Americans' financial fragility, Hezbollah in Venezuela, assessing the effectiveness of a border wall, and more.

    Feb 15, 2019

  • Donald Trump holds up a photo of a border wall design in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 11, 2019, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters

    Commentary

    Terrorists on the Border and Government Secrecy

    Detailed information on how many would-be terrorists may have sought to cross the southern border is being withheld on the grounds that it is sensitive. The refusal of officials to offer a fuller explanation of the numbers illustrates how the continued expansion of secrecy in government is damaging the ability of the public to assess the risk and evaluate the response.

    Feb 13, 2019

  • Blog

    State of the Union, OxyContin, Appalachia: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on insights from RAND after the State of the Union, public-health impacts of reformulating OxyContin, STEM jobs in Appalachia, and more.

    Feb 8, 2019

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials detain migrants from Central America in San Diego County, California, January 16, 2019, photo by Mohammed Salem/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Wall Is Not the Only Answer

    The president and Congress have just days to negotiate an agreement over border security, or the government may shut down once again. Until a bipartisan effort is made to reform U.S. immigration laws, policy options to address the incentives that cause people to risk their lives to come to the border to claim asylum will continue to be limited.

    Feb 8, 2019