Transportation infrastructure and systems connect the people of our world to opportunity. During the Industrial Revolution, liquid fuels and internal combustion technologies drastically reduced the cost of constructing infrastructure and moving across any distance, making mobility and logistics services accessible to nearly anyone.
Today, another revolution in energy is being supercharged by access to massive datasets sourced from the crowd and stored in the cloud. Coupled with an economy that operates on credit, anticipated cash flow, and the drive to employ capital to reduce operating expenses, the results of analysis can be used to support investment in infrastructure that is no longer funded by taxation. Transportation infrastructure is the next frontier for individual investors, the hundreds of millions of people who can benefit from the success of the highway system as shareholders in their own transportation future.
An economic system that allows for individual investment in the delivery of goods and services creates opportunity for everyone, even those who do not possess large amounts of resources. When such investments lead to increased quality and availability while reducing costs and risks to the consumer, the overall economic benefits will ripple across entire communities, across supply chains, throughout networks, and around the world.
What leads to a reduced cost for transportation? What types of investments can produce a return that supports a transition away from taxation and transportation reductionism? How can transportation infrastructure instead support economic prosperity and individual advancement and security even in the absence of population growth, travel demand growth, and economic growth?
Launched in 2018, the The Transportation Futures program at the Discovery Institute supports the work of the International Motorway Association, the ACES Networks and founding ACES Northwest Network, and the Cascadia Center for Regional Development. Discovery Fellow Scott O. Kuznicki was awarded the program’s first fellowship for 2019-2021 and remains responsible for the program’s structure, initiatives, and research activities as the the program manager and Resident Fellow.
Future contributions to this program will increase the diversity of ideas through an additional fellowship designed for a mid-career professional engineer or planner. With this support in 2023, the Discovery Institute will expand research programs supporting the first conclave of the International Motorway Association and pursue opportunities to broaden the reach of these revolutionary ideas.