Safety and Technology in Transportation: Key Concerns for …
Transportation agencies and private sector representatives testified before Congress about ongoing safety concerns and the advancement of emerging technologies. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association called on Congress to improve safety programs and technological capabilities along freight corridors. The hearing was related to the implementation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Stakeholders cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data estimating that nearly 43,000 traffic fatalities occurred in 2020, and they emphasized the importance of addressing roadway safety needs for all road users. The transportation construction community also committed to mitigating an increase in safety-related incidents in work zones.
According to stakeholders representing transportation agencies and the private sector, there are ongoing concerns related to safety and the advancement of emerging technologies. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) were among the groups calling on Congress to continue focusing on improving safety programs and technological capabilities along freight corridors.
The Highways and Transit Subcommittee recently held an oversight hearing related to the implementation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. During the hearing, stakeholders emphasized the importance of addressing safety concerns and promoting the adoption of emerging technologies in the transportation industry.
“AASHTO and its members will continue to promote known infrastructure-based opportunities — and to identify new ones — to address the variety of factors contributing to crashes and the roadway safety needs of all road users,” said Marc Williams, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation and a board member of AASHTO.
Williams also highlighted the importance of sharing best practices among states to improve roadway safety. “AASHTO’s councils and committees continuously identify best practices to share among the states so that we can continue to learn from one another and spread good ideas around the country,” he added.
For ARTBA, ensuring a safe workplace for workers tasked with building mobility and safety enhancements provided by the IIJA is top priority. “As the IIJA supports thousands of new projects, there will also be an increased number of work zones, resulting in increased risk exposure for workers. The transportation construction community is committed to doing its part to mitigate an increase in the number of safety-related incidents,” said Paula Hammond, chairwoman of ARTBA.
Stakeholders cited National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data estimating that nearly 43,000 traffic fatalities occurred in 2020, a 7.2% increase from the previous year. The adoption of emerging technologies such as automated vehicles, connected infrastructure, and intelligent transportation systems can help reduce the number of fatalities on the nation’s highways.
In addition to safety concerns, stakeholders also called for increased investment in freight corridors to support economic growth and efficiency. “The IIJA is a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, and we must ensure that it includes the necessary funding to support the efficient movement of goods and services,” said Williams.
The IIJA includes $110 billion for roads, bridges, and highways, $39 billion for public transit, and $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. The legislation also includes funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, broadband internet, and climate resilience projects.
In conclusion, stakeholders representing transportation agencies and the private sector are calling on Congress to prioritize safety and the adoption of emerging technologies in the transportation industry. The IIJA provides a historic investment in the nation’s infrastructure, and stakeholders are urging lawmakers to ensure that the necessary funding is provided to support economic growth and efficiency along freight corridors.
- ^ Story credit (www.ttnews.com)