The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation published summary reports on a 2014 Novel Modes Workshop. The research project was a multimodal effort, supported by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program. On December 2–3, 2014, at the Turner–Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) in McLean, VA, the EAR Program coordinated a workshop to assess the state of technology for new modal systems. The EAR Program convened the workshop with support from the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center). Participants of the workshop addressed potential technological trends and government policy and research roles that could affect the current highway, transit, and rail systems. They also addressed an opportunity to provide fair and open access to innovators in the business and academic sectors.
The EAR Program invited respondents of an FHWA request for information (RFI) concerning entities working on novel modal systems to the workshop to present their concepts, either in person or remotely. Government, academia, and the private sector participated in the workshop. A team from multiple offices within Office of the Secretary of Transportation, FHWA, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the Federal Railroad Administration also participated. In addition to the TFHRC location, the workshop took place concurrently at FTA Region 9 Offices in San Francisco, CA, and remotely from over a dozen sites on three continents via Web access.
The workshop summary report captures highlights from the workshop and summarizes the discussions that took place. Brief overviews of the RFI respondent presentations are presented in Appendix A. The surface transportation modes report summarizes the initial stage investigation into current research and development of alternative modal concepts to gain a better understanding of novel surface transportation concepts.