Insights · February 8th, 2010
Tomorrow I have the privilege of doing the keynote speech for the opening of the 2010 Northwest Transportation Conference, being held on the campus of OSU in Corvallis, Oregon. I’ve been asked to offer “Reflections on Transportation Futures – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”
My belief is that for transportation we are at a time in history somewhat like a century ago – a time when new energy developments combined with inventiveness to radically change how, where, and when people could achieve mobility. The automobile age that began a century ago has now led to its own problems, even as it just now expands rapidly in parts of the world like China.
Looking ahead, over the next decade or two we will, nationally and internationally, need to be thinking systemically about travel demand and supply, advanced transportation technologies, and how to achieve sustainable transportation, if that is possible.
In my speech I’ll be highlighting 4 key trends – economic volatility, environmental issues remaining in the foreground, the end of cheaper and cheaper energy (which enabled the last century of transportation), and shifting demographics. From these four core trends arise four key challenges – making the energy transition, developing transportation around how we want to live rather than developing our living spaces to accommodate transportation, making Philly legal (borrowing from Duncan Black) which is to say re-inventing our towns and cities, and finally stepping up to actual breakthrough thinking.
Here are the slides I’ll be using.