New Transportation Technology: Safe, Efficient & Sustainable

There are some mind-blowing new transportation technologies that are currently being developed. We’re talking about cars that can talk to each other and tell the driver when to stop–which could prevent 82% of unimpaired crashes. And air traffic management via satellite that could reduce flight delays by 28%. These technologies would make transportation safer, more efficient and cause less environmental harm.

But you can’t have any of these new transportation technologies. Because we’re out of money.

The presentations from Wednesday’s HOT Women in Transportation’s New Tools and Technologies for a New Decade development day seem to follow this trend; that is, wavering between reporting on the amazing possibilities of future new transportation technology and the scary lack of money that’s seemingly will prevent us from developing these advances.

However, using a lack of funds as an excuse NOT to develop new transportation technologies is a huge risk. Did you know that the average cell phone bill is $63 per month but that Texas drivers pay only $18 per month in gas tax (which is where 80% of our highway funding comes from)? Is the value that a cell phone provides 3 times greater the value of roads?

Below are my notes from the presentations in case you didn’t get to attend the event.

WTS’ New Tools and New Technologies for a New Decade

New Technologies

IntelliDrive: Alex Power, TxDOT

  • National, multi modal transportation system
  • Uses wireless technology to network vehicles, intersections, control centers etc.
  • Think of car with a ring of data around it (here I am, my speed)
  • Vehicle to Vehicle communications & vehicle to pedestrian communication


  • Could address 82% of unimpaired crash scenarios
  • Allow more cars on the road safely
  • Benefits also include real time data capture (traffic, road conditions)

Who: USDOT, AASHTO, Private sector

car2go:Jay Perrett, car2go

  • Urban car sharing
  • 200+ cars in Austin, seeking to add 100 cars soon
  • Cars on demand: reservations + walk up and drive off
  • Cost $.39 per minute to rent


  • People moving back to urban centers
  • By 2050 75% of world pop in cities
  • Cost to own car over 5 years $33,000 (not purchase price)
  • Cuts down on parking needs
  • Personal car driven 1 to 2 hours a day; shared car = 4 hours a day
  • 1 shared car reduces 15 personal cars
  • reduce environmental impact (SMART car, take less gas)

NextGen Air Transportation System: Rob Lowe, FAA

  • Shift from ground based traffic control to satellite traffic management
  • Allow more aircraft to safely fly closer together


  • Air traffic increase by 2% each year for the next 10 years
  • Aviation represents 5.6% of gross domestic product
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • By 2018, expect to reduce flight delay by 28%
  • Potential costs savings

New Policy Tools

Funding through VMT: Ginger Goodin, TTI

  • Funding Transportation through user fees
  • Mileage fees
  • Congestion pricing
  • Environmental fees (i.e. charge by emission class)


  • Cars using less gas (fuel efficiency = less revenue)
  • Allocate resources based on fees

Oregon Pilot Study

  • 300 volunteers put an onboard system in car
  • At refueling pump, system reported number of miles only
  • Subtracted the mileage fee from the current gas tax
  • 90% of people said they were ok with this system

Housing and Transit: Frank Fernandez, CapMetro
Housing and Transportation are linked issues for low income populations
CapMetro bus fares are affordable, but Austin housing prices aren’t affordable
In Austin there is a 37,000 housing unit shortage for households that make $20,000 or less
Housing + Utility + Transportation Cost from Harvard’s Center of Housing Policy

  • Kansas City MPO = 56% of income (lower housing but higher transportation)
  • New York City = 56% of income (higher housing but lower transportation)

Google “Housing Transportation Affordability Index”

What to do?

  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Bonds
  • Incentives

Multi-Modal Texas: John Langmore, CapMetro
Federal Rail Initiative

  • 8 billion dollars to high speed intercity passenger rail
  • Texas got 4 million
  • Texas Tbone Concept vs. Texas Triangle vs. Lonestar Rail
  • If we don’t settle on 1 concept, Texas won’t get funding


  • $18 billion State budget deficit
  • Roads underfunded (no new capacity beginning 2012)

Rail transit enhances land value

  • Could fund rail transit by capturing enhanced land value
  • Purchase the land and partner with private sector to build transit oriented development

New Financial Tools

Funding and Financing: Kay McKinley, PBS&J

  • Economic growth & population growth
  • 70% truck freight comes across Tx Mexico border comes in Texas
  • VMT outpacing population growth (75% VMT versus 50% population)
  • Gas tax revenues declining

Our 1991 $0.20 gas tax has been eroded by inflation to $0.14 today.

How Texas Motor Fuel Tax Allocated

  • 25% School Fund
  • 50% State Highway Fund
  • 25% County and Road District Funds

Alternative Financing Strategies

  • Texas Mobility Funds
  • Comprehensive Development Agreements
  • State Infrastructure Bank
  • Prop 12 bonds
  • Transportation Reinvestment Zone (TRZ)
  • Federal Dollars: TIFIA, PABs, BABs

Public-Private Partnerships (3P): Jon Engelke, AECOM
Greenfield is when private sector builds and leases new facility
Brownfield is when private sector leases existing facility
3P have been around since midevil times
Over $300 billion invested around the world in transportation through 3P
80% private funded projects are on time/on budget versus 40% of regular funded projects
States with more 3Ps in future are California, Texas, Florida & Arizona

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7 Responses to New Transportation Technology: Safe, Efficient & Sustainable

  1. Ashley September 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Thanks for posting your notes from the Professional Development Seminar! I agree we need to get the word out on the difference between monthly costs for cell phones versus roads.

  2. Kristen Carney September 27, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    No problem. Yeah, that fact about cell phones versus roads was re-tweeted a bunch on Twitter.

  3. Social Media Marketing - Dallas October 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks for this amazing tidbit! I will definitely have to use this in my blog!


  4. Texas Section 8 December 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    In many areas the ranks of subsidized housing are full. They take waiting lists but in some states, like Florida, they are overwhelmed and are taking no applications even for a waiting list. I don’t know the situation in TX so you need to contact HuD there. Our look up Housing.

  5. Health Matters January 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    I like this website because so much useful material on here : D.


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