Emerging Technology Trends in Transportation

Emerging Technology Trends in Transportation

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Description: New technologies may enhance mobility by providing a range of more economical travel options, but also typically require access to smartphones and payment options that may cost more than traditional road and transit services, raising questions about equity. There might be a federal role in ensuring that all sectors of the population have access to the technologies, and the technologies provide access to economically disadvantaged areas. .

 
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Contents:
February, 2016

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY
TRENDS IN TRANSPORTATION

1

About the Eno Center for Transportation

The Eno Center for Transportation is a neutral, non-partisan think-tank that promotes
policy innovation and leads professional development in the transportation industry. As
part of its mission, Eno seeks continuous improvement in transportation and its public and
private leadership in order to increase the system’s mobility, safety, and sustainability.

About ICF International

ICF International (NASDAQ:ICFI) provides professional services and technology solutions
that deliver beneficial impact in areas critical to the world’s future. ICF is fluent in the
language of change, whether driven by markets, technology, or policy. Since 1969, we have
combined a passion for our work with deep industry expertise to tackle our clients’ most
important challenges. We partner with clients around the globe—advising, executing,
innovating—to help them define and achieve success. Our more than 5,000 employees serve
government and commercial clients from more than 70 offices worldwide. ICF’s website is
www.icfi.com.

TRANSPORTATION POLICY RESEARCH
WORKSHOPS
Workshop White Paper
Emerging Technology Trends in Transportation
This report was developed to inform a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) workshop,
held in September 2015, exploring emerging technological trends in transportation. This
paper provides an overview of select developing transportation technologies and includes
a discussion of the policy implications of these new technological trends. The report was
co-authored by staff from the Eno Center for Transportation and ICF International.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

1

Introduction

2

Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

3

Technology Enabled Models of Taxi Services and Public Transit

7

Technology Affecting Freight and Urban Goods Movement

9

Shared Use Economy and New Forms of Shared Use Mobility

10

The Role of Technology in Traveler Information, Transportation System Operations,
and Travel Demand Management

12

Policy Implications

14

End Notes

16

1

Introduction
Technology has been rapidly changing society, the economy, and the way
people live, work, and interact with each other. Driven in part by smartphones,
a substantial increase in inexpensive computing power, and “the Internet of
things,” technologies are fundamentally changing access to information and
services. Within the transportation sector, the implications of new technologies
and models of transportation service delivery are broad and are likely to
transform the way people and goods move over the coming decades. Given the
life-cycle of planning and the range of impacts of transportation investments,
understanding these changes and their potential implications are important to
consider when forming federal, state, and local transportation policies.



This paper seeks to provide an overview of technology advances in transportation,
focusing on those likely to have important implications for transportation
policy. This paper is divided into five categories of potentially transformational
technological innovations:
1. Autonomous and semi-autonomous driving capabilities;



2. New technology enabled models of taxi services and public transit;


3. Technology affecting freight and urban goods movement;
4. New forms of technology-enabled shared use mobility; and

5. Advances in traveler information, transportation system operations, and

travel demand management.
This paper is intended to briefly describe these technological advances and
highlight potential policy implications.

2

LEVELS OF AUTOMATION IN VEHICLES

Autonomous and SemiAutonomous Vehicles
Over the past several years, the
automobile and technology industries
have made significant leaps in bringing
computerization and wireless capabilities
into motor vehicles, with technologies
that allow sensors and software to replace
some or all of the human function in
driving. Many of these functions are
already becoming more commonplace in
automobiles.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs),
semi-autonomous features, and connected
vehicle (CV) features are enabled by
sensors, cameras, and radars, allowing
vehicles to wirelessly exchange data
with their surroundings. These features
allow vehicles to communicate with
each other (referred to as vehicle-tovehicle or V2V communications), as well
as communications between vehicles
and roadway infrastructure, such as
traffic signals and toll booths (referred
to as vehicle-to-infrastructure or V2I
communications).1

Source: NHTSA’s “Preliminary Statement of Policy
Concerning Automated Vehicles”

• Adaptive cruise control, which
automatically adjusts the vehicle speed
to maintain a safe distance from vehicles
ahead;

The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) notes that
distinct but related streams of
technological development are occurring
simultaneously (including in-vehicle
crash avoidance systems, connected
vehicle communications, and self-driving
vehicles), which can be seen as part of a
continuum of vehicle control automation.2
The following table from NHTSA provides
definitions for levels of automation in
vehicles, useful for framing discussions
around AVs.

• Parking assist systems that allow cars to
steer themselves into parking spaces;

Given advances in communications and
vehicle technologies, research has explored
when and how implementation will impact
transportation. New car models increasingly
include semi-autonomous features, such as:

The time frame for fully autonomous, Level
4 vehicles to be for sale to the public is
unclear. Some estimates suggest that
there is considerable time to perfect the
system: from the next five to ten years

• Lane departure warning systems that
warn a driver when a vehicle begins to veer
out of its lane
• Lane keeping systems, which
automatically take steps to ensure the
vehicle stays in its lane (unless a turn
signal is on in that direction); and
• Systems that brake by themselves in an
emergency to avoid a crash.

3

to the potential that we will never fully
reach Level 4 automation.3 On the other
hand, according to researchers at Carnegie
Mellon University (CMU), AV technology
is more mature than many people realize,
and fully autonomous vehicles are likely
to be commercially available in the 2020s.4
While projections of full automation vary,
vehicles on the market continue to have
increased autonomous capabilities, and
market offerings continue to diversify
as automation research proceeds.5
Regardless of the timeframe to reach
Level 4 automation, factors such as cost,
licensing, and liability are all potential
barriers to mass adoption of autonomous
technologies.
Assuming that these technologies
become successful and available to the
mass market, AVs have the potential to
dramatically change the transportation
network and system performance. These
changes may lead to significant reductions
in fatal crashes and injuries, provide
critical mobility to the elderly and disabled,
and enhance effective road capacity.6 AV
technologies also have potential to reduce
traffic congestion and fuel consumption.7
Beyond passenger vehicles, autonomous
heavy-duty trucks could increase road
safety and provide opportunities for a more
efficient freight delivery system.8 In terms
of safety, automated freight vehicles could
handle long-distance freight, significantly
reducing collisions caused by sleep
deprivation, inattention, and other factors
of human error.9 In addition, heavy-duty
trucks with autonomous driving capabilities
would be able to travel with more compact
spacing in traffic, thus increasing the
capacity of the roadways while maintaining
safety.10
While AVs offer potential for significant
changes in mobility and safety, they raise
numerous policy issues for consideration.
The following are policy areas that likely

need to be addressed as semi-autonomous
and fully autonomous driving features
become available.
Impacts on Travel Demand, Vehicle
Ownership, and Urban Spaces.
The safety and mobility impacts of AVs have
potential to create significant changes in
travel behavior, especially given the multidecade time horizon in transportation
investment planning and policy. By
facilitating personal independence and
mobility, while enhancing safety and
making travel time more productive (for
reading, working, relaxing, etc.), CV/AVs
could significantly increase the demand
for automobile travel. Currently, many
older drivers cope with physical limitations
through self-regulation, avoiding heavy
traffic, unfamiliar roads, night-time driving,
and poor weather, while others stop driving
altogether.11

Over the past several years, there have been significant leaps in
bringing computerization into motor vehicles that allow sensors
and software to replace some of the human function in driving.

Liability.
Autonomous vehicles present a
number of issues regarding liability and
insurance. While experts anticipate that
autonomous vehicles will increase safety,
accidents will still occur. As pointed out in
an Eno Center for Transportation report,
human drivers are not generally “held at
fault when responding to circumstances
beyond their control,” regardless of the
split-second decisions that they make.12
However, sensors, algorithms, and software
4

that will come standard with self-driving
cars will allow the vehicles themselves to
make decisions that are more informed.
Courts could scrutinize these decisions.13

But when a vehicle does not brake and
results in fatalities, there is a question of
“how the liability system sets incentives to
coordinate care among parties.”20

Additionally, as a report by the RAND
Corporation discusses, issues of liability are
more likely to fall on manufacturers than
consumers. Because the vehicle rather than
the driver could be blamed for accidents
in AVs, manufacturer liability is greater
compared to a non-autonomous vehicle.
As such, manufacturers may be hesitant to
produce and sell autonomous vehicles on
a large scale.14 However, the RAND report
further discusses that several existing
solutions reduce product liability for the
manufacturer. For example, manufacturers
can reduce risk by amending their business
model and offer vehicle use as a service
rather than a product.15 Policymakers could
also develop legislation and create legal
precedents that would reduce liability on
the manufacturer. Congress, for instance,
could legislate for a reinsurance backstop.16

Although there is significant progress
and excitement about AVs, a recent KPMG
survey of insurance companies found
that most executives are skeptical of AV
technology’s pace. Insurance companies
anticipate a significant transformation
will not occur until 2025 at the earliest,
resulting in few insurance companies
taking immediate action. With that said,
they understood and recognized that if and
when this transformation does take place,
it would have significant ramifications and
require “major changes across all the core
functions, from underwriting to claims.”21

As manufacturers face potential liability
issues, insurance companies are also
encountering potential new territory.
Blurring and shifting the lines of
responsibility between the human driver
and the car manufacturer, AV technology
could “change the amount, type, and
purchase of automobile insurance” and
how liability is defined entirely.17 As
crash avoidance technology continues
to improve, insurance companies will
have more opportunities to test which
components are most vulnerable and costly
to collisions.18
Companies must also consider the
emergence of new crash types. As AVs
could automatically brake, for example,
pedestrians may become acclimated to a
self-driving vehicle stopping -- much in the
same fashion as people use their hands to
stop elevator doors from closing, secure
in the knowledge that injury is unlikely.19
5

Cyber Security.
Just as the Internet has spawned
cybercrime, hacking, and identity theft, the
advent of wirelessly connected vehicles
creates threats for cybersecurity in the
vehicle fleet. Vehicles today already
interact with the outside world through
a myriad of means: remote key systems,
satellite radios, telematic control units,
Bluetooth connections, dashboard
Internet links, and even wireless tirepressure monitors. Security researchers
have demonstrated the ability to hack
into a vehicle over the Internet, being
able to turn the steering wheel, briefly
disable the brakes, and shut down the
engine of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. They also
found readily accessible Internet links
to thousands of other privately owned
Jeeps, Dodges and Chryslers that feature
a wireless entertainment and navigation
system.22 Experts in cybersecurity indicate
that widespread hacks on cars and other
connected devices in transportation are
destined to come, and the ramifications
are potentially severe in a fully connected
transportation system.23

Impacts on Highway Design and
Infrastructure.
AVs may have implications on highway
design, maintenance, and operations.
For instance, many AV applications are
dependent on clear lane markings. Faded,
missing, or old lane markings left visible
can hinder the ability of systems, as well as
markings covered in snow.24

The time frame for fully autonomous, Level 4 vehicles to be for
sale to the public is unclear, but some semi-autonomous features
are already available.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
(PennDOT) commissioned a study to
develop a Connected and Autonomous
Vehicles 2040 Vision, with researchers at
CMU assessing the implications of CVs/
AVs on the management and operation of
the state’s surface transportation system
(assuming that these technologies would
be incorporated into all motor vehicles by
2040).25 The study suggested that there are
many uncertainties that make investment
decisions related to land capacity and
highway design challenging. For instance,
CV/AV technology will increase the effective
capacity of highway lanes via smoother,
more uniform and reduced headways as
well as more efficient traffic management.
On the other hand, travel behavior changes,
including induced demand, could adversely
affect the extra lane capacity. One of
the more important impacts relates to
how transportation agencies provide
traveler information. With an expanded
connectivity network, radio advisories
as well as intelligent transportation

system (ITS) message signs might be
rendered obsolete, since information
that currently is available through ITS
message signs would be disseminated
directly to the vehicles using vehicle-toinfrastructure (V2I) or vehicle-to-external
device (V2X) technologies and on-board
units (OBUs). Information provided
through ITS message signs could become
readily available inside vehicles through
original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
and OBUs. In an environment using
either cellular or dedicated short range
communications (DSRC) technology,
the actual ITS message signs and radio
advisories might be obsolete; the
information transferred through the signs
could be transmitted directly from a traffic
management center to a cell tower or
cloud, then to the vehicle itself.26
Cost.
One of the largest likely barriers to the
widespread adoption of semi autonomous
and fully autonomous vehicles is the
cost of the technology. While there are
significant potential benefits to safety
and congestion, cost will ultimately be
a critical determining factor in terms
of achieving these large-scale benefits,
since widespread adoption requires
affordability. A report by KPMG and the
Center for Automotive Research note that
the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)
systems on top of Google’s AVs cost
$70,000, and additional costs will accrue
from other sensors, software, engineering,
and added power and computing
requirements.27 Steve Dellenback (KPMG)
estimates that most current civilian
and military AV applications cost over
$100,000. This is unaffordable for most
Americans, with 2012 sticker prices for the
top 27 selling vehicles in America ranging
from $16,000 to $27,000.28
If AV prices become comparable to those
for conventional vehicles, research
6

suggests a ready and willing market. J.D.
Power and Associates’ survey suggests that
37 percent of persons would “definitely”
or “probably” purchase a vehicle equipped
with autonomous driving capabilities
in their next vehicle, though the share
dropped to 20 percent after being asked
to assume an additional $3,000 purchase
price.29 And this is assuming that these
technologies are proven safe and are able
to be significantly reduced in price.
Policies for Advancing Adoption of AVs.
At the federal level, NHTSA and U.S. DOT’s
ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) have been
conducting research on vehicle automation
for many years, which has already led
to regulatory and policy developments.
Areas of research include human factors
(evaluating driver/vehicle interaction,
allocation of vehicle control functions,
and driver acceptance), development of
system performance requirements, and
addressing electronic control system
safety. NHTSA’s research will inform agency
policy decisions and assist in developing an
overall set of requirements and standards
for automated vehicles.30
Meanwhile, several states – Nevada,
California, Michigan, and Florida -- have
acted to encourage development of selfdriving vehicles by enacting legislation that
expressly permits their operation under
certain conditions. Multiple other states
are considering or have considered bills.31
Further investigation is needed to better
understand the appropriate response from
federal, state, and local policymakers
to ensure safe and efficient deployment
of what could be transformational
transportation technology.

7

Technology Enabled Models of
Taxi Services and Public Transit
Beyond the potential for autonomous
passenger and freight vehicles, another
technological development has already
had significant transportation impacts is
the advent of smartphone applications
for taxi and transit services. Smartphones
are enabling new business models for
interacting with customers to provide
transportation services.
Uber is the most well-known transportation
network service, operating in 311 cities in
58 countries and providing more than 1
million rides each day as of Fall 2015. Rival
services include Lyft and Sidecar in the U.S.,
Didi Kuaidi in China and GrabTaxi in SouthEast Asia.32 Consumers have demonstrated
high demand for these services because
they provide quick and responsive
service, and are generally cheaper than
conventional taxis.
Codified in California law as
“Transportation Network Companies”,
these services use smartphone apps to
allow riders to arrange rides in real-time
with ordinary drivers who provide a ride
in exchange for payment. These services
have sometimes been called “ridesourcing”
services, rather than “ridesharing” since
they are not designed to reduce vehicle
trips.33 According to research from the
University of California Berkeley, these
services have directly challenged existing
regulations and practices that have long
shaped the taxi industry, raising questions
about appropriate regulatory and public
policy responses.34
However, these companies are increasingly
pursuing ridesharing functions, which
involve the sharing of one vehicle by
multiple riders. UberPOOL and Lyft Line, for
example, allow drivers carrying a passenger
to add additional passengers riding a

similar route. These services are known as
“ride-splitting,” as passengers can divide
the cost of the trip.35
Some services have gone further, creating
smartphone enabled transit services.
Operating in Boston, MA and Washington,
D.C., for example, Bridj provides flexible
transit-type services, using shared ride
vans that seat up to 14 passengers. The
service uses mobile apps to optimize
pick-ups, drop-offs, and routing based on
demand, at a cost typically higher than a
public transit fare but lower than a taxi.36
Using a network of shuttles, Bridj allows
a level of flexibility less available in more
traditional public transit systems.
Chariot, founded in 2014, is a private crowdsourced bus service that operates fixed
service routes. It launches new service
routes when a sufficient number of riders
reach the threshold to support the route.37
Users purchase tickets or passes, and a
mobile app shows the location of shuttles
in real time and allows customers to check
in for their rides.
Loup, also founded in 2014, and operating
in San Francisco, runs frequent service on
predetermined routes, under the concept
that having reliable service on established
routes will provide a more scalable
business model.38 While Loup offers
predictable services, its routes and vehicle
types may change over time, depending on
demand. The service started with standard
black town cars from partnering local
limousine companies, but it can contract
larger or additional vehicles based on
demand.39
Supporters view ride-sourcing as part of
a suite of transport options that serve a
previously unmet demand for fast, flexible,
and convenient mobility in urban areas.
By providing an appealing alternative
to driving, it can also potentially reduce
auto use, ownership, and environmental

problems.40 On the other hand, these
privatized transit companies have the
potential to undermine local transit routes
and fare revenues.41 And while some of
the services might provide a dramatic
improvement in underserved areas, these
benefits may not equally apply to all
income ranges. Lower income travelers
that do not have access to a smartphone
or cannot afford the new services might
be left worse off as the traditional transit
services they rely upon lose market share.

Smartphones are enabling new business models for interacting
with customers to provide transportation services, including taxi
services hailed on a phone.

Some of the companies suggest they are
not competing with public transit agencies
as much as providing overflow options,
as many bus routes are overcrowded
and cannot accommodate additional
passengers. According to Chariot CEO
Ali Vahabzadeh: “I think we’re actually
bringing more commuters back into the
transit-first fold as opposed to having
them drive to work and congest the
streets even more, or commute through
Uber, Lyft or Sidecar.”42 Moreover, while
these companies may expand the transit
market, it only expands to riders able to
pay a higher fare, raising potential equity
concerns. It is also conceivable that local
transit agencies could contract with such
technology providers to improve service
and reduce costs in some parts of their
system.

8

Drones.

Technology Affecting Freight
and Urban Goods Movement

Drones are likely to have important
impacts on package delivery in urban
areas. For example, the Swiss postal
system is coordinating with California
drone manufacturer Matternet to begin
testing the feasibility of using drones for
package delivery. Delivery by drones has
many applications, including “delivery
to peripheral areas” to “transporting
emergency supplies.”45 Additionally, major
retailers like Amazon are prepared to
begin using drones for delivery purposes.
While the technology is available for
delivery by drones to occur, concerns over
safety and logistics remain unresolved.
However, regulations are forthcoming
and will attempt to address some of the
externalities and privacy issues associated
with drone deliveries.46

Like with transit, technology enabled
models have significant implications
for freight. As noted in this report,
opportunities exist for the use of
autonomous vehicles in freight. Beyond
AVs, technologies affecting freight include
mobile apps and new transportation
service models, drones, and 3D printing.
Impacts of Mobile Apps and New Service
Models.
Just as mobile apps have created
new business models for passenger
transportation, they have the opportunity
to also affect urban goods movement. For
instance, Uber has begun experimenting
with local delivery services, with the aim
of becoming as disruptive in logistics
and urban deliveries as it has been in the
taxi business. In the urban realm, some
speculate that Uber could dominate freight
services in large part due to the fact that it
has lower costs compared to UPS or FedEx,
which have to maintain a vehicle fleet.43
Uber is already running a lunch delivery
service in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York,
Barcelona, Washington, DC, and Toronto.
Uber has also launched a service called
UberRush in San Francisco, Chicago, and
New York, for local deliveries of goods.44

3D Printing.
The growing prevalence of 3D printing in
manufacturing could potentially impact
the transportation system, enabling
manufacturing to occur closer to end
users.47 This could result in reductions
in port and air cargo traffic as well as
long distance distribution. Additionally,
new truck patterns may emerge that
will depend on smaller vans rather than
larger, heavy-duty trucks.48 Currently most
3D printing applications are limited to
manufacturing rather than widespread
consumer use. But depending on how and
if the technology is successfully deployed,
it is important for policymakers to consider
how this could disrupt current supply chain
and freight flows.

Delivery by drone has many applications, but forthcoming
regulations will attempt to address some of the externalities and
privacy issues

9

Shared Use Economy and New
Forms of Shared Use Mobility
Technology has supported the emergence
of a new shared use economy, including
services like AirBnB, which allows people to
rent out their homes or apartments. In the
transportation realm, models of shared use
mobility -- such as car sharing, bikesharing,
dynamic ridesharing, ridesourcing, and ondemand transit -- have gained prominence
in recent years.
Shared use mobility “describes the wide
variety of new technology-enabled services
and tools that give instant access to new
services and travel information while
complementing traditional modes like
fixed-route transit.”49 Through the shared
use economy, people have access to a wide
array of travel options, such as on-demand
transportation companies, private transit,
public transit, car sharing, and bike sharing.
While many of these concepts emerged
years ago (for instance, bikesharing first
emerged in the 1960s in Amsterdam), their
growth is enabled by communications
technology that eases reservations, vehicle
tracking, and service payment.50
These options have seen considerable
growth in recent years. For instance, over
the past 15 years, carsharing in the U.S. has
grown from a largely subsidized, university
research-driven experiment into a for-profit
enterprise, with companies such as Zipcar
(owned by Avis Budget Group), car2go
(owned by Daimler), Enterprise CarShare,
and Hertz 24/7 gaining an increasing share
of the U.S. market.51
The “Innovative Mobility Carsharing
Outlook,” produced by the Transportation
Sustainability Research Center at the
University of California, Berkeley, reports
that carshare numbers have increased from
about 448,574 carshare members in the U.S.
in 2010 to nearly 1.34 million members in

2014.52 While these figures are still a small
share of the overall market, new options
continue to emerge and car ownership,
especially in large cities, is becoming
less of a necessity. New service models
have also come into existence. RelayRides
enables car owners to rent out their vehicle
while not in use; the service provides free
parking at airports in exchange for letting
others rent the vehicle while the owner is
away.53
Sharing rides offers significant potential
for reduced vehicle travel overall. Modeling
work at MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, for
instance, explored the potential impact
that sharing of taxi rides could have on taxi
fleet operation in New York City. Results
suggest that the total miles traveled by
taxis in New York City could be reduced by
40 percent with such a shared taxi system,
leading to reductions in service costs,
traffic congestion, and emissions, as well
as fares paid by individual travelers.54

While bikesharing first emerged in the 1960s in Amsterdam, its
recent growth is enabled by communications technology that
eases reservations, vehicle tracking, and service payment.

According to Dr. Susan Shaheen, the
time has come to “no longer think of
these services--ridesharing, carsharing,
bikesharing, scooter-sharing--discretely but
rather as a package of mobility services.”55
Several arguments can be made for shared
use options to be more fully integrated
with public transit systems. Helsinki, for
example, has set forth an ambitious plan
to build an on demand system that would
10

allow users to “purchase mobility in real
time, straight from their smartphones.”56
Helsinki’s plan combines all transportation
modes into one smartphone application run
by a public utility, rather than by multiple
private-sector companies.

and planners will be considering how to
balance equity and technological expansion
as these services are deployed.

Regulatory Framework and Local Policies.
With such a variety of technology-enabled
mobility options available, a governing
framework may be needed.57 Companies
like Uber or Lyft straddle the line between
rideshare service and taxi service, making
them difficult to regulate. The California
Public Utilities Commission (PUC), for
example, rules that these services “are
not ridesharing services, entitled to an
exemption from regulation,” but also
do not fully fall into the taxi category.58
Moreover, some local governments, such as
those in Boston and Seattle, have amended
parking policies to allow for one-way
carsharing, whereby users pick up and drop
off cars in any legal parking space within
the company’s coverage area.59
Equity.
Equity is critical to consider when
discussing technology enabled mobility
models as well as the shared use economy.
Many of the emerging technologies for
mobility rely on the use of a smartphone,
require an Internet connection, and tend
to be more expensive than traditional
public transit options. Many lower income
communities that do not have access
to technology might face challenges
accessing options, and for-profit companies
might also be less inclined to serve them.
A PolicyLink report points out that “lowincome communities and communities
of color carry the heaviest transportation
burdens and could benefit tremendously
from” the shared use economy, but these
communities rarely use bikesharing
and car sharing options.60 Policymakers
11

Ridesharing is becoming a key mode for accessing airports, as
seen here at the Nashville International Airport

The Role of Technology
in Traveler Information,
Transportation System
Operations, and Travel Demand
Management
In addition to changing how drivers
interact with their vehicles and each other,
technology also enables transportation
agencies to enhance the way in which
they operate and manage transportation
systems. In particular, access to real-time
traveler data is playing a growing role
in traveler information, transportations
system operations, and travel demand
management.
Enhanced Traveler Information and
Incentives.
Many state and local transportation
departments transmit information through
511 mobile applications; transit agencies
publish real time information through their
own applications; and private application
companies, like Waze, serve as an
additional resource for travelers. Several
opportunities exist for enhancing the real
time information provided to travelers.

Mobile applications can incentivize
travelers to change their behavior. If
designed well, a smartphone application
can have a profound impact on how
travelers choose to transport themselves.
For example, the energy sector is rapidly
seeing the development of smartphonebased applications for utility company
consumers to manage their energy
consumption.61 Simple Energy provides
a similar function to utilities but adds
social media, competition, and a rewards
system to their products.62 Many energy
management companies estimate
significant savings, with Simple Energy
reporting that they get an average of
6.7 percent energy savings and over 10
percent during peak times.

Partnerships between technology firms and transportation
agencies are opportunities for enhancing the real time
information provided to travelers.

In addition to enhanced access to travel
information, some smart phone apps use
the concept of “gamification”, in which
social competition is used to reward
users of apps through “virtual prizes”
and positive reinforcement, rather than
financial incentives.63 A start-up company
called Urban Engines has been created
building on similar concepts aiming to
provide analytics, individualized trip plans
and micro-incentives.64 Another start-up
in this field is Metropia, which aims to
link incentives with local businesses for
time and route shifts.65 The goal of the
app is to provide rewards for off-peak
driving, including the ability to obtain

rewards by “reserving” trips on the app.
As reported on the website, the mobile
app predicts future travel times and
assigns reward points to the departure
times and routes that cause less impact
to the roadway system. Another similar
project in Europe is Mobidot, which uses
a smartphone-based system to influence
travel behavior.66
While this has occurred outside the
public sector, the idea of working with
municipalities is central to the efforts of
these start-ups, who position themselves
as mobility managers rather than just
consumer-focused app developers.
However, federal programs can also
support these efforts. The U.S. Department
of Transportation’s Applications for the
Environment: Real-Time Information
Synthesis (AERIS) Program has performed
significant research on the role of
technologies in supporting environmental
outcomes. The research program
developed five operational scenarios
(Eco-Signal Operations, Eco-Lanes, Low
Emissions Zones, Eco-Traveler Information,
and Eco-Integrated Corridor Management),
which could provide environmental
benefits.67
Optimizing Transportation System
Management.
State and local transportation agencies
are using technology to better manage
and operate transportation systems as
coordinated networks. The concept of
Integrated Corridor Management (ICM)
focuses on improving the transportation
network by encouraging the efficient
movement of people and goods
through institutional collaboration
and proactive communication and
integration of operations along major
corridors (including interstates, arterials,
and transit services). Through an ICM
approach, transportation agencies
manage the corridor as a multimodal
12

system and make operational decisions using
real-time data to optimize performance across
the corridor as a whole.68
A related concept being advanced at the
federal, state, and regional levels is called
Active Transportation Demand Management
(ATDM), which focuses on the active
management, control, and influence of travel
demand, traffic demand, and travel flow of
transportation facilities. ATDM can include
multiple approaches spanning active demand
management (e.g., dynamic pricing, on-demand
transit, predictive traveler information), traffic
management (e.g., adaptive traffic signal
control, dynamic lane reversal, dynamic
shoulder use, adaptive ramp metering), and
parking management (variably priced parking,
dynamic parking reservation systems).69

State and local transportation agencies are using technology to better
manage and operate transportation systems as coordinated networks.

The concept of “Smart Cities,” defined as “a
system of interconnected systems, including
employment, health care, retail/entertainment,
public services, residences, energy distribution,
and not least, transportation… tied together
by information and communication
technologies that transmit and process
data about all sorts of activities within the
city,” is gaining attention.70 Smart cities
can use their technological infrastructure
in conjunction with mobile applications to
support transportation system operations and
maintenance.
13

For example, Rio de Janeiro collaborated
with Waze in order to collect real-time
data about drivers and apply it to their
transportation planning systems.71 Florida
DOT and several other states are also
using Waze as a key source for providing
traveler information. The City of Boston
has capitalized on smart technology, using
a mobile application called StreetBump
to determine pothole locations and uses
sensors mounted on building roofs to
monitor greenhouse gas emissions.72
Parking Management and Urban
Congestion Relief.
Technology can help provide better
information to reduce prolonged congestion
in urban areas. It is estimated that about
8 to 74 percent of central business district
area traffic is a direct result of cruising
for parking.73 A prominent effort has
been the Congestion and Parking Relief
Initiative (CAPRI) in Stanford, California.
This program provides cash incentives to
Stanford commuters and parkers who shift
to commuting during off-peak periods;
the approach is now being extended to
Bangalore, India and Singapore as well.74
Planners and policymakers can use this
approach as a low-cost way of improving
the operation of their urban streets and
roadways.

Policy Implications
Technological advances are likely to have significant impacts on the way people and
goods travel over the coming decades, raising policy questions that should be thoughtfully
addressed. While the implications for different technologies vary, it is likely that
technologies will create significant improvements in traveler safety and will enable
different models of transportation service provision. This preliminary research overview
illuminates a number of unknowns in federal transportation policy, including:
Is there a federal role in the research, licensing and liability of autonomous
technologies?
Self-driving cars, semi-autonomous vehicles, and drones all could provide transformational
benefits to the transportation system. These technologies could be accelerated through
research funding and regulations that support their licensing and address liability issues.
As these technologies could provide substantial national benefits, the federal government
can help ensure deployment is done quickly, safely, and responsibly.
Do federal, state and local governments need to rethink their investment strategies?
The bulk of federal program funding is generally geared toward building infrastructure.
While infrastructure investment will continue to be an important aspect of any
transportation system, technological improvements could provide substantial capacity,
safety, and accessibility improvements at a relatively low cost. As currently designed,
federal programs do not necessarily encourage implementation of smart technologies
at state and local transportation agencies. For instance, federal highway programs and
campaigns focused on highway safety may need to be altered to recognize a new safety
paradigm associated with autonomous vehicles.
Does the federal government need to restructure transportation planning
procedures?
Changes in vehicle travel demand, the effective capacity of roads, and the ways travelers
interact with the transportation system will need to be considered in investment planning
for both the renewal of existing infrastructure, and the development of newly planned
infrastructure, transit operations, and parking. This may have important implications on
investment policies and programs at the federal, state, and local levels.
Is there a governmental role in subsidizing the deployment of new technologies?
If autonomous vehicles, traveler information apps, and shared-use systems (among
others), prove to be as beneficial as researchers suggest, then there might be a rationale
behind subsidizing the additional cost associated with the new technologies.
Is there a need to encourage partnerships between private entities and public
agencies?
There has been limited experience with states and localities working directly with
14

technology data applications to better manage roads and improve planning. Also, most
new transportation services such as Uber or Bridj are seen as competitors to existing
providers such as taxi commissions and transit agencies. Federal efforts might assist
private companies and public agencies in expanding partnerships.
Should the federal government set appropriate standards to assist disadvantaged
groups in gaining access to the benefits provided by technology?
New technologies may enhance mobility by providing a range of more economical travel
options, but also typically require access to smartphones and payment options that may
cost more than traditional road and transit services, raising questions about equity. There
might be a federal role in ensuring that all sectors of the population have access to the
technologies, and the technologies provide access to economically disadvantaged areas.

Any views or opinions expressed in this white paper are solely those of the author(s) and do not
necessarily represent those of the Eno Center and ICF International. This white paper is provided for
informational purposes only and the contents are subject to change without notice. No contractual
obligations are formed directly or indirectly by this document. ENO AND ICF MAKE NO WARRANTIES,
EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT.

15

End Notes
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http://www.its.dot.gov/connected_vehicle/connected_vehicle_research.htm
2
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2013). “Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles.”
3
Freemark, Y. (June 2015). “Will autonomous cars change the role and value of public transportation?” The
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5
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nytimes.com/2016/01/18/technology/driverless-cars-limits-include-human-nature.html?_r=0
6
Eno Center for Transportation (2013), Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers
and Policy Recommendations, https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.
pdf
7
NHTSA (2013), Policy on Automated Vehicles, available at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/U.S.+Department+of+Transportation+Releases+Policy+on+Automated+Vehicle+Development ; Atiyeh,
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10
Eno Center for Transportation (2013), Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers
and Policy Recommendations, https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.
pdf
11
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12
Eno Center for Transportation (2013), Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers
and Policy Recommendations, https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.
pdf
13
Eno Center for Transportation (2013), Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers
and Policy Recommendations, https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.
pdf
14
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15
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16
Rand Corporation (2014). Autonomous Vehicle Technology A Guide for Policymakers. http://www.rand.org/
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17
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20
RAND Corporation (2014). Autonomous Vehicle Technology: A Guide for Policymakers. http://www.rand.org/
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21
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1

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26
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27
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AV-paper.pdf
29
Eno Center for Transportation (2013), Preparing a Nation for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers
and Policy Recommendations, https://www.enotrans.org/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/downloadables/AV-paper.pdf
30
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31
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33
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34
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35
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36
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37
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38
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40
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41
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42
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45
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Eno Center for Transportation
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