Innovative transportation solutions can cut harmful emissions, reduce fuel dependence, protect critical assets, and support healthy communities and habitats. They can also save energy, and manage costs across the life cycle. But how do you identify and implement the solutions that best fit your community’s needs?
The global transport industry faces many challenges. There’s the pressure from societal and environmental concerns that we need to shift away from fossil fuels; regulatory challenges from future legislation banning certain vehicles or providing incentives for greener alternatives; supply-side forces such as increasing fuel prices; and technology disruptions from new players that threaten established business models.
Despite all these challenges challenger motor freight, there is one thing that we can count on: innovation will continue to shape the way we move. It’s no surprise that many of the most exciting innovations are those aimed at creating new forms of mobility that will make it easier to get around.
For example, autonomous taxis could soon become a reality, and they will offer the potential to reduce congestion by freeing up drivers’ time; air taxis are poised to provide a more enjoyable flying experience than conventional airplanes; pneumatic tube transport confines passengers in sealed capsules that accelerate and decelerate with nausea-inducing force; and solar panels on buses can increase range between charges.
These innovations can transform our daily lives by providing more efficient, safer, affordable, and environmentally friendly ways to travel. They can help us gain greater access to preventive healthcare, a wider pool of jobs, educational opportunities, and goods and services essential for everyday living, such as grocery stores. They can even lower our carbon footprint by reducing the need to drive, and thus emit fewer harmful gases into the atmosphere.
While many of these innovations are still in the early stages, they are already having a significant impact. For example, NREL has collaborated with city officials in Columbus, Ohio, to devise transportation strategies that combine on-demand, automated, connected, and electrified transportation options with sustainable urban planning to reduce the city’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
As these innovative transportation solutions emerge, it’s important that communities are included in the process and that they understand how to use them. Transportation agencies are well-positioned to facilitate these conversations and can serve as a trusted source of information about the latest innovations in transportation technology. They can champion equity and accessibility in their communities, and help ensure that these new tools are designed to meet the needs of all users. Taking this approach will ensure that these technologies are available to the people who need them most. This can be done by building trust through ongoing, iterative, and transparent processes. To learn more about how to do this, download our Human-Centered Design Framework for identifying and developing equitable smart mobility solutions. The framework can guide transportation agencies to develop and deliver innovative transportation solutions to their customers. A version of this article originally appeared on the CMAP blog.