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Research on the Future

Below are resources for learning more about trends that may impact the transportation industry and, thus, the industry's research needs over the next generation are categorized under two areas:


Government Programs and Reports

  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Transportation Policy Studies develops analytical tools and data systems for policy development and studies; conducts analyses and studies to support the formulation of transpotation policy and legislative initiatives; prepares major reports to Congress on highway policy issues; and monitors and forecasts economic, demographic, and personal/commercial travel trends. [More]
  • In 2006, the FHWA Office of Real Estate Services conducted scenario planning through 2030 to assess future needs for highway reality. [More]
  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-83, Long Range Strategic Issues facing the Highway Industry—The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes that research can help ensure that transportation practitioners are equipped to deal with future challenges facing the industry over the next 30 to 40 years. The research resulted in a series of publications called the Foresight series. [More]
    The projects funded under NCHRP 20-83 include different approaches for considering the future over a 30 to 40 year horizon. A December 2010 Workshop provided the first glimpse of the different approaches. [More]
  • The United Kingdom (UK) Forsight Programme and Horizon Scanning Centre uses science based methods to provide visions of the future to identify potential risks and opportunities in relation to science and technology. The Foresight Programme and Horizon Scanning Centre are based in the Government Office for Science based within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. [More]
  • The Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL) and the European Commission (EC) initiated the New Road Construction Concepts (NR2C) project to generate future-oriented initiatives for road research. The report, "New Road Construction Concepts: Vision 2040" discussed general trends such as shortages of clean energy, land, etc. along with increased demand for mobility (individually and in total), more recreational travel and auto travel, more flexible work patterns, telecommuting and remote work, and the integration of communication in daily activities, then developed three scenarios based on differing policy structures. [More]

Nongovernmental Programs and Reports

  • The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report, "The Future of the Internet III," on potential changes from the Internet in 2020. [More]
  • The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent, nonprofit research group located in Palo Alto, CA, that seeks to identify emerging trends. [More]
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Smart Cities Group in the MIT Media Lab is envisioning future forms of mobility and communication. [More]
  • The New Media Consortium supports the Horizon Project, which looks at impacts of emerging technology on education. [More]
  • In the September 2007 issue of the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Raymond E. Levitt wrote an article titled "CEM Research for the Next 50 Years: Maximizing Economic, Environmental, and Societal Value of the Built Environment." [More]
  • In the September 2006 issue of World Transport Policy & Practice, Hartmut H. Topp from the Institute for Mobility and Transport at Kaiserslautern University of Technology wrote on the "Trends, Innovative Course Settings, and Levers for Mobility and Transport: Seen to the Year 2030." His article covered potential changes in energy, mobility, urban development, life styles, and demographics. [More]
  • In 2002, Robert L. Olson, Research Director for the Institute for Alternative Futures, wrote the paper, “Trends Shaping Transportation’s Future.” [More]
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019