Washington, D.C. — In the lead-up to a much-anticipated policy debate regarding infrastructure investment, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) released The Futures of Transportation, a report of the Transportation Visioning Summit that convened leaders of 18 major transportation associations to discuss and consider the future of transportation. The report title contains “Futures,” plural, because summit participants considered many potential futures in their discussion.

“We knew, when we planned the summit last spring that whoever was elected president would put a high priority on infrastructure. Therefore, it seemed only natural to convene a summit to talk about what the future might look like and how we could shape it,” said Patrick Jones, IBTTA’s Executive Director and CEO.

“IBTTA is known by the transportation community as an effective convener.  It’s one of the things we do well.  And while our mission is to advance transportation solutions through tolling, we recognize that tolling is only one piece of the transportation puzzle. Tolling is a powerful and effective tool in the transportation toolbox, but it’s only one tool. To have an effective, functioning transportation system, you need many different players and industries to cooperate. You need a convener. That’s where we come in,” Jones said.

Topics featured in the report, along with transportation leaders’ thoughts and analysis of each, include:

Autonomous and Connected Vehicles — Participants expressed a consensus on the inevitability of vehicle automation for both people and freight.

Smart Cities and Smart Design — One advantage of a smart cities approach and reliance on enabling technologies is that we may finally break the vehicle-centric view of transportation. The big shift is that you are no longer connected primarily to your vehicle; you’re connected to mobility.

The Future of Freight and Goods Movement — Trucking is one of the rail industry’s biggest customers and is working to integrate with rail and make trade work seamlessly. As we consider the future of smart cities, we can’t forget about freight because metropolitan areas will demand even more goods movement than they do today.

Moving Beyond Today’s Infrastructure — Participants acknowledged that while we are constrained by current infrastructure, we are also constrained by today’s thinking.  Deciding whether to repair or replace vital infrastructure will be a challenge as we look for the most sustainable solutions.

Leadership and Making the Case for Infrastructure Investment — Participants expressed a hunger for coherent political leadership on transportation investment – from Congress and President Trump.  There was consensus on the need to coalesce around a unified response to the Trump administration’s proposal on infrastructure investment once the details emerge.

The summit took place at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., and leaders from the following associations participated:

  • American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • American Automobile Association
  • American Bus Association
  • American Public Transportation Association
  • American Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Trucking Associations
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Building America’s Future
  • I-95 Corridor Coalition
  • International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association
  • ITS America
  • Mileage Based User Fee Alliance
  • National Asphalt Pavement Association
  • Transportation Research Board
  • Truck Renting & Leasing Association
  • S. Travel Association

“Early in 2016, then-IBTTA President Buddy Croft (who is also executive director of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority) suggested that we meet with our brother and sister transportation associations in Washington, D.C. to rekindle relationships and work on solving common problems,” Jones said.  “Out of those early meetings came the idea to convene a one-day summit of transportation leaders.  A day to step back and think – really think – about the future, free from the distraction of the next appropriation, the next authorization, and the next election.”

“To understand what the future of transportation might look like, we needed to hear what other industry experts were thinking, even if they held a different point of view. IBTTA was the right group to convene the summit, and now is clearly the right time to discuss these issues,” said Croft.

IBTTA said it published the report in the spirit of advancing thoughtful discussion about the future of transportation.  Current debates around transportation are diffuse, parochial, and unorganized.  Now is the time for transportation leaders to work together to create a compelling vision that people can rally around, IBTTA said.

Download The Futures of Transportation, a report of the Transportation Visioning Summit at http://www.ibtta.org/sites/default/files/documents/2016/TranspoSummit_FINAL.pdf.