Assignment: Week 3: Third Transportation Revolution
Natalie A. Lawrence
TLMT603, Fall 2012
Professor Dr. Stacey Little
18 October 2012
Third Transportation Revolution In the last decade, our global economic competitors have led the way in planning and building the transportation networks of the 21st century. In 1808, President Thomas Jefferson’s administration released the Gallatin Plan, articulating a 100-year vision for a national transportation system and proposing a $20 million ($324 billion in 2010 dollars) program to develop canals and roadways. This visionary blueprint by government officials and industrialists laid the ground¬work for the construction of the Erie Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad. Our freight transportation system was not built for the explosive growth of coast-to-coast shipping and international trade experienced over the past two decades, and our economically vital gateways and corridors, our primary port, road, and rail routes for shipping goods in and out of the country, now operate at or over capacity. The surge in global trade is expanding and the focus of intermodal transport is prevalent in order to continue to stimulate the economy. In a global economy, businesses need access to manufacturing plants and distribution centers, to international gateways like ports and airports, and to consumers in both metropolitan and rural regions. There is no question that America must continue to provide adequate funding to ensure the efficiency and safety of our highways, roads, and bridges since they will always remain an important component of our transportation network.
Intermodal transport can be viewed to mean the mode of transport relating to more than one mode of transport. For example, a station which provides transfers between buses and trains could be described as intermodal. In the view of freight, intermodal usually refers to land/sea containers. In order to improve intermodal transport system innovative solutions, particularly the application of new technologies, are critical to address the need for improvements in transportation productivity, sustainability and safety.
Congestion and capacity constraints threaten to increase the cost of trade and impede our global competitiveness. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT) they have an “innovative project finance initiative is to respond to the shortfall in conventional public funding by supplementing traditional financing techniques and directing resources to transportation investments of critical importance.” The population and economic growth will continue to drive demand for investment in our transportation system. However, with budget issues and the focus of prioritizing the “needs improvement” area, without additional funding, the quality of our transportation system will decline.
Title 49 Subtitle III, Chapter 55 Subchapter 5501 outlines the policy of the National Intermodal Transportation System. It outlines the makeup of the system and what it should entail. As the economy and technology changes, the upkeep of intermodal transportation system should reflect the same. For instance, Title 49.III.55.5501 clearly states the system “must be operated and maintained with insistent attention to the concepts of innovation, competition, energy efficiency, productivity, growth, and accountability.” (Cornell University Law School). Yet the market is not standardized in order to be more effective and globally competitive. There are not enough systems in place to monitor and manage in real time. The transportation world has increased throughout the years, yet the government should continue to focus on the importance of technology and the impact it will have in order to continuously be competitive in the supply chain globally.
The government should focus on infrastructure improvement (air, rail, sea, and ground). With focus on improvement over the intermodal system as