ACB FrameworkChange Forces • Technology Advancement

Technology Advancement

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CAVs, transportation system management, transportation network companies (TNC), IT, data collection, rate of tech change


A broad array of technology-related changes are impacting how people travel, how transportation systems are operated and managed, and how DOTs will collect, create, share and use information. Technology advancement creates a number of challenges and opportunities for transportation agencies. These challenges and opportunities have far reaching implications for investment planning and prioritization, partnerships, workforce skills and abilities, and internal management structures and methods.

DOTs are advancing use of technologies for transportation system management and operations – techniques include adaptive traffic signal control, dynamic lane reversal, dynamic shoulder use, adaptive ramp metering, dynamic pricing, integrated electronic payment systems, and advanced traveler information systems.

Agencies are just beginning to grapple with the range of technical and legal challenges associated with emerging connected and autonomous vehicle technologies and supporting infrastructure needs. Implications for highway design and capacity needs, lane markings, traveler information and cybersecurity are currently being studied. Other advances in energy technology for vehicles are slowly changing the habits of drivers and creating infrastructure needs, particularly for electric vehicles, that agencies are considering as well.

Technology-enabled ride sourcing and ride sharing services are also evolving, offering travelers new options. Longer term impacts on vehicular travel, transit service, and equity are not yet well understood.

Methods for data gathering and analysis are changing. It is now possible to quickly and efficiently collect much more high quality data using mobile scanners, remote sensing, drones, crowd sourcing, and other methods. New data sources and advances in data management and analysis methods are providing a better understanding of asset condition, utilization, and risk factors in support of decision making. Improved technology enables significant increases in the amount of data available, but at the same time presents new challenges in data management and forces transportation agencies to carefully consider how data will be used to improve decision making.

Information technology continues to improve more broadly, with ever more powerful and compact computers, improved network connectivity, more efficient system deployment models, and improved decision support. Social media applications are growing in use and sophistication, offering opportunities for new modes of knowledge transfer within and across agencies. Given the ease with which people can stay connected through telecommunications and videoconferencing technology, more people are expecting to be able to work from anywhere as well. infrastructure. Organizations are increasingly taking advantage of the cloud for data, applications and technology Advances are occurring in artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and platform architectures that offer opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness, but require specialized expertise. Information privacy and cybersecurity are presenting growing challenges for agency IT staff.

The rate of technological advance is increasing. DOTs are challenged to keep up with the pace of technology advances. They face a growing expectation to have the latest and most up-to-date technology from both their staff and the public. Some agencies are addressing this challenge through use of software-as-a-service and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

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