Transportation

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  • Commentary

    Ohio's Train Derailment—Not Spy Balloons—Is the Real National Security Threat

    The slow degradation of infrastructure and disaster response is less a spectacle than an overflying balloon, but the train derailment and chemical spill in Ohio highlights just how bizarre such a focus on perceived external national security threats has become. The far greater threat may be from within.

    Feb 20, 2023

  • Commentary

    Do Car Companies Know Where Their Critical Minerals Come From?

    The initial slate of electric vehicles qualifying for a new federal tax credit was announced in April. Key to eligibility is the source of critical minerals used in their batteries. While the list of acceptable nations of origin is still being worked out, there's an important practical question the IRS should ask: Do carmakers really know where their critical minerals come from?

    Apr 28, 2023

Explore Transportation

  • Report

    Report

    Emerging Technology and Risk Analysis: Unmanned Aerial Systems Intelligent Swarm Technology

    Researchers provide an assessment of the risk to the U.S. homeland from intelligent swarm technology using unmanned aerial systems or drones. They consider technology availability, threat, vulnerability, and consequences over the next decade.

    Feb 15, 2024

  • A self driving car, often referred to as a robotaxi, at the Embarcedero in San Francisco, California, August 17, 2023, photo by Gado Images/Reuters

    Commentary

    Reining in the Risks of Robotaxis

    Robotaxis are a complex tangle of technology and services with multiple stakeholders, so regulation is messy. There is, however, a process that has been designed to deal with such messy situations. It's called decisionmaking under deep uncertainty.

    Feb 5, 2024

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney defeats Houthi missiles and UAVs in the Red Sea, October 19, 2023, photo by PO2 Aaron La/U.S. Navy via Reuters

    Commentary

    Getting 'Left-of-Launch' in the Counter-Drone Fight

    The democratization of drone technology means that adversaries are now able to conduct attacks with near impunity. The Houthis' recent drone attacks in the Red Sea show that America's current approach to countering them is not working. A holistic, offensive strategy is needed.

    Jan 17, 2024

  • The large unmanned surface vessel Nomad transits the Pacific Ocean to participate in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, June 22, 2022, photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler R. Fraser/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    Creating the Uncrewed-Centric Navy of the Mid-21st Century

    The emergence of uncrewed technologies can enable the Navy to achieve greater capacity and operate in harm's way by avoiding over-concentration of combat power in too few assets.

    Nov 30, 2023

  • Smart car (HUD) and Autonomous self-driving mode vehicle on metro city road with graphic sensor signal, photo by zapp2photo/Adobe Stock

    Journal Article

    A Comparative Look at Various Countries' Legal Regimes Governing Automated Vehicles

    This article summarizes the makeup of AV legal regimes of Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, with a focus on law and policy relating to highly to fully automated vehicles.

    Nov 27, 2023

  • Aerial view of the Intuit Dome construction site with SoFi Stadium in the background in Inglewood, California, October 13, 2023, photo by Image of Sport/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Case for Promoting Infrastructure Equity for the Olympics

    In 2028, Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games for the third time. A critical factor for successfully hosting will be for planners to ask hard questions early, so the community can collaborate with the organizing committee, informing its response to critical themes such as homes, health, transport, jobs, society, and culture.

    Oct 16, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap

    Blog

    Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, Neurodiversity, Russia's 'Forever War': RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on public reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, neurodiversity and national security, Ukraine's path to victory, and more.

    Jul 28, 2023

  • U.S. Navy sailors recover a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, February 5, 2023, U.S. Navy photo via EyePress News/Reuters

    Commentary

    UFOs Are Not the Only Potential Threat in American Skies

    How can the United States best monitor its millions of square miles of domestic airspace for unidentified anomalous phenomena—what were once called UFOs—or anything else? Public reporting could help officials identify potential threats—but it'd help if the sightings being reported were actually unknown aerial phenomena and not U.S. military aircraft.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • A drone or other object in the sky during a colorful sunset, photo by Наталья Босяк/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Where Are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Sightings in the United States?

    The February 2023 Chinese surveillance balloon incident raised questions about the degree to which the U.S. government knows who is flying what over its skies. Public reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena may help officials identify potential threats.

    Jul 25, 2023

  • Crowd of people in a NYC subway station waiting for the train , photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    Transportation Planning for Uncertain Times

    Transportation agencies must pursue ambitious goals in the face of intense, large-scale, and increasingly fast-paced change. Through the decision making under conditions of deep uncertainty (DMDU) approach, researchers offer a guide for Metropolitan Planning Organizations to account for and manage future uncertainties as part of their regular transportation planning process.

    Jul 11, 2023

  • Sailors aboard the USS Winston S. Churchill send pallets to the USNS Leroy Grumman in the Arabian Sea, January 19, 2021, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Louis Staats/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    So Many Questions, So Little Time for Pacific Logistics

    The United States has been struggling to “pivot to the Pacific” for over a decade, and one of the major missing pieces is logistics. It is critical that the logistics underpinning a credible military deterrent be figured out now.

    Jun 23, 2023

  • A Navy Research Laboratory unmanned surface vehicle near Panama Beach, Florida, November 9, 2020, photo by U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

    Commentary

    Revive the Ram

    In the face of aggressive maneuvers by Chinese vessels, the U.S. Navy can brandish ramming unmanned surface vessels as a capability to inhibit threats while limiting the risk of escalation. These relatively simple, inexpensive vehicles could be used alongside a variety of nonlethal weapons to manage confrontations, giving commanders more options.

    Jun 22, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    International Space Traffic Management: Charting a Course for Long-Term Sustainability

    As outer space becomes more congested, contested, and competitive, risks to space safety, security, and sustainability heighten. The authors identified lessons from other domains and offer recommendations to make progress in space traffic management.

    Jun 5, 2023

  • A ring of debris (space junk) orbits the Earth. Image by JohanSwanepoel/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Now Is the Time for Space Traffic Management

    The growing number of objects in orbit has increased the potential for overcrowding, debris creation, and, ultimately, collisions. If space powers don't establish an international space traffic management organization soon, the world could lose key portions of its orbital resources.

    Jun 5, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Rethink Mine Countermeasures

    Despite efforts to reduce the timelines, costs,and risks associated with MCM operations, mines remain cost-imposing weapons that can deny access for protracted periods or inflict unacceptable losses on the U.S. Navy.

    May 23, 2023

  • Undated photo of Virgin Galactic Spaceship Cabin Interior, handout photo by Virgin Galactic/ABACA via Reuters Connect

    Commentary

    Enter Outer Space at Your Own Risk?

    Since 2004, federal law has barred most participant safety regulations and leaves nearly all issues of safety up to the discretion of the company providing the service. It's time to allow the moratorium on regulation to expire and allow the development of safety standards, led by the FAA.

    May 16, 2023

  • Numerous square concrete blocks are stacked on top of each other underwater to create an artificial reef, photo by Placebo365/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Defending Taiwan with Artificial Reefs

    Deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is arguably the most important defense problem of the next few decades. Artificial reefs could help to deter China simply by waiting to impale any potential invasion force.

    May 10, 2023

  • A Coast Guard unmanned aircraft system hovers during training in Astoria, Oregon, February 24, 2023, photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diolanda Caballero/U.S. Coast Guard

    Commentary

    Coast Guard Leans Forward in New UxS Strategy but Faces Significant Challenges

    The rise of unmanned systems creates a challenging landscape for the U.S. Coast Guard as it endeavors to conduct its diverse missions in the future. To address emerging technologies and prepare for forthcoming threats, the service recently released a strategic plan.

    May 3, 2023

  • Report

    Report

    Characterizing the Uncrewed Systems Industrial Base

    The Department of Defense has hypothesized that future demand for uncrewed systems (UxS) will strain the capacity of the defense industrial base (DIB). This report contains an analysis of UxS demand and recommendations on strengthening the DIB.

    Apr 26, 2023