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Implications to Public Transportation of Emerging Technologies

Over the past several  years, the emergence of new technologies impacting all travel modes including public transportation has garnered significant attention across the spectrum of interests, from the research and technology communities to the transportation planning and policy communities to the public, media, and political communities. This awareness and interest is evidenced by extensive media coverage and growing speculation on the implications on everything from roadway safety to the fate of traditional auto manufacturers to the consequences for mobility, the environment, land use patterns, and the economy. Included in the list of potential consequences is the issue of the future of public transportation. This paper, “Implications to Public Transportation of Emerging Technologies”, follows up on a white paper authored in late 2013 titled “Implications to Public Transportation of Autonomous or Connected Vehicles.” It updates thinking based on activities to date and specifically delves into how the public transportation industry might be impacted and could respond to this issue. Download the paper.

1 Comment
  1. 1), Different More Positive Title?
    “Implication to Urban Transportation of EmergingTechnologies.”
    Changes interact and are likely to affect both public and private modes.
    2), Except for a few unique intense activity segments, 30+ expensive years have not shifted meaningful numbers of travelers to mass transit.
    Example: Growing San Diego added 1 million passenger miles travelled daily to mass transit. 40 million were added to over-crowded roads and fuel wasted increased by a factor of 4.
    3),On call Uber, and useful competitors, extend to all travelers, especially non-drivers, the demonstrated preference for on demand, personal same vehicle direct to actual destinations. Their “doorstep” service inherently overcomes mass transit users station access deficiency
    4), Thus the fundamental shift to transportation travelers prefer and will use leads to roles re-assignments for urban transportation.
    a), Uber, etc, become Public Transportation providing 24/7 service on adequate roads, and in some high demand areas dedicated electric guideways.
    Mass transit’s scheduled heavy vehicle wasteful service, before, between and after travel peaks is replaced with superior on call service by Uber,etc.
    b), The mass transit role is capacity augmentation in some corridors during periods of heavy demand, and provide timely service for high attendance events.

    Uber, etc, are demonstrating feasible technologies. A pragmatic shift to these new roles can start, and begin to incorporate vehicle efficiency improvements to meet air quality goals.
    If needed initially, fund savings from mass transit subsidies can maintain fares at customary levels.

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