The transportation sector has been transformed by several technologies and companies. Thus, the sector faces new challenges and must adapt new ways.
FREMONT, CA: Over the last decade, the transportation sector has been revolutionized. Companies such as Uber, Lyft, and their competitors have changed the way customers purchase rides. Amazon from an online bookstore has evolved to a company that delivers electronics, household goods, and more and has completely changed the logistics industry. With the incredible growth in electric vehicle sales and continual integration of automated features into cars have changed the automotive industry. Looking at all these developments, experts can predict where the transportation sector is headed in the coming years. While many of the predictions are useful in urban planning, some provide more critical views on the transportation industry.
The ‘Fare Choices Study’ by Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council illustrates the continued increases in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) owing to Transportation Network Company (TNC) services such as Uber and Lyft. While the TNC costs are expected to increase dramatically, the demand for ridership will likely stay the same, based on the reliability and the convenience of the service. Even as providers integrate autonomous vehicles into specific routes, the economic viability of these TNCs will remain nebulous. The VMT trends will witness an upward trajectory due to the increase in e-Commerce and increased delivery services.
According to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, the trucking generates 11 percent of congestion in the U.S., while they consist of only seven percent of traffic. In the holiday season of the year 2019, UPS had a 50 percent increase in volume and predicted a rise of 26 percent in returns.
Cities can take steps such as continued support to compact development to encourage higher density and affordable housing near job centers. Further, cities can use right-of-way restrictions, use pricing, and car-free zones similar to several European cities in Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York. Cities can also embrace lane thinning, shared streets, and parking removal, as suggested by 2018 Urbanism Next: Rethinking Streets in an Era of Driverless Cars. Additionally, cities can use cordon zones and more aggressive roadway pricing. Lastly, based on the high cost of last-mile deliveries, consolidation in the logistics economy is a viable step. The transportation sector is changed, and it’s up to the authorities to tackle the changes and provide feasible solutions.