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Looking Forward to Beyond Traffic, Recapping Transportation and the Economy

Monday, September 14, 2015

Every year, Volpe brings together experts from across the transportation enterprise to explore new ideas, look beyond the horizon, and raise awareness of emerging and future transportation challenges.

Volpe’s most recent speaker series—Transportation and the Economy: Leading Globally, Succeeding Locally—highlighted the forces driving transportation innovation in modern economies.

Learn more about Transportation and the Economy below, or dig in to the series’ final report to find out how multimodal transportation drives economic growth.

Want to delve into the trends that will transform transportation over the next 10, 20, 30 years? Join us for our upcoming speaker series, Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation, held at Volpe’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus in Kendall Square.

Transportation and the Economy: Leading Globally, Succeeding Locally

Transportation and the Economy explored the role that the movement of goods and people plays in national and global economies, within a framework of research on logistics and megaregions, intermodal freight systems, and technological advances.

Concept image depicting multimodal logistics.The series opened with a presentation from Dr. Yossi Sheffi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Sheffi offered insights on how logistics clusters make freight transportation cheaper, encourage companies to share novel ideas, and create jobs.

Dr. Catherine Ross of the Georgia Institute of Technology followed with a discussion on how burgeoning megaregions that encompass large cities, suburbs, exurbs, and the areas between are rapidly changing the transportation planning equation. Drs. Sheffi and Ross both pointed out the potential adverse impacts of logistics clusters, including growing congestion, capacity problems, and increased GHG emissions.

Volpe Deputy Associate Administrator for Research and Technology Anne Aylward then shared her 20-year perspective on developments and challenges in building a freight system that allows goods to seamlessly cross modes, from ship to truck to rail.

American Association of Port Authorities President and CEO Kurt Nagle continued the freight discussion with his experience in shipping. Nagle emphasized the need to use navigation and communications technologies to meet the growing need for containerized shipping.

With a focus on multimodal international goods movement, UPS Managing Director of Global Operations Policy Rich McArdle addressed breaking down barriers to trade on the global “chess board” of 200 nations and territories. 

Shifting to how technology can enhance safety and reduce air congestion, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker spoke about improvements being rolled out across the nation’s airspace as part of FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System.

John Moavenzadeh of the World Economic Forum USA followed with challenges and opportunities from new technologies and business models, such as car sharing, that are poised to change transportation industries more in the next 10 years than in the past 100.

Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School closed the Transportation and the Economy series with rich insights into potential long-term visions transportation decision makers can use to propel the funding and creativity needed to maintain America’s transportation infrastructure and global competitiveness.

Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter speaks at Volpe.
Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter speaks at Volpe as part of the Transportation and the Economy speaker series. (Volpe photo)

Be sure to read the final report to dive deeper into the topics discussed during Volpe’s Transportation and the Economy series—and remember to join Volpe in person or via webinar for Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation.

Upcoming Speaker Series

Beyond Traffic will kick off September 18 with Dr. Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Initiative on the Digital Economy. Dr. McAfee will discuss where developments such as autonomous vehicles and drone deliveries are taking us, and when they might change transportation.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will deliver a special video introduction, followed by opening remarks from Gregory D. Winfree, Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.

Graphic promoting Volpe's speaker series "Transportation and the Economy."