Technology has shaped our lives in ways we could never have anticipated. It connects us, makes us more productive, and changes the way we travel. The Regional Plan explores technology trends that could drastically improve our transportation infrastructure, while prioritizing safety and providing mobility choices that will reduce emissions:
Shared modes of travel can be a valuable alternative to relying on personal vehicles. With new technology, we can access shared cars, bikes, scooters, and rides on demand through a mobile app. Transit service also benefits from technology through improved operations, fare collection, scheduling, and routing of transit service.
Within the past decade, we saw a significant shift toward the use of electric vehicles (EVs). The influx of EVs creates a critical need for public charging infrastructure. Current initiatives focus on expanding available vehicle charging infrastructure, including deploying inductive or wireless charging technology in the roadways, allowing EV users to charge while driving.
Connection to the internet allows smart cars and infrastructure to communicate with each other and other connected devices. Connectivity offers a variety of benefits, including improved safety for all modes, smoother traffic flow, and more reliable public transit. Connectivity also allows more people to work from home instead of traveling to work. Regular telework among the non-self-employed population has grown by 140% since 2005.
Automated vehicles (AVs) can operate without a human driver, providing an opportunity to improve access to populations that cannot drive, such as older adults or people with disabilities. Additionally, more than 90% of vehicle accidents are due to human error, so AVs can drastically reduce the number of collisions and fatalities on our roadways.
In April 2021, we updated our Emerging Technologies White Paper to reflect the latest research on these trends. Our research demonstrates the technological and societal trends that have the potential to change how the region's transportation system is used in the future. The white paper will help inform the transportation network development process.