CCST to Help Examine Transportation Infrastructure

October 8, 2007 |   | Contact: M. Daniel DeCillis

The ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland combined account for nearly 50% of all imports into the United States. Photo courtesy of METRANS Transportation Center, USC.

In response to a request from State Senator Alan Lowenthal, CCST has begun a project in partnership with the Research and Technology Advisory Panel (RTAP) to develop strategies for both short- term and long-term support to California decision-makers on goods movement policy and infrastructure investment.

“The main goal is to provide expertise and innovative thinking that will help to inform the decision-making process,” said CCST Council Chair Lawrence Papay.

The project, which will be directed by Professor Genevieve Giuliano, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Technology at the University of Southern California and Director of the METRANS Center, includes two short-term tasks focused on specific issues associated with current goods movement decision-making. It also includes a third task involving development of a plan for a longer-term research activity that addresses analytical tools and decision processes in goods movement.

Globalization and the restructuring of economic activity have contributed to rapid growth of goods movement throughout the world. California’s position as gateway to Asian trade, together with its large population and highly diversified industrial base, has resulted in rapid growth of trade and goods movement. California’s transportation infrastructure (highways, ports, intermodal facilities) has played a key role in fostering this growth. However, growth in transport demand has far outstripped growth in infrastructure. Increasing congestion on these facilities is adding to transport costs and threatening the long-term competitiveness of some segments of the California economy.”Transportation has been identified as a top science and technology issue in California for some time,” said Papay. “We are pleased at the opportunity to contribute to the development of a comprehensive transportation strategy that will help keep California economically competitive in the years to come.”

In the first task, CCST will examine opportunities and constraints associated with new technology implementation and the transportation planning process. The second task will examine technology alternatives for reducing emissions associated with goods movement. The main activity for this task will be to conduct a workshop with participants drawn both from the scientific community and the policy/planning analysis community.

The third task is to develop a plan for a longer-term study of how goods movement could be more effectively managed. It will address two sets of questions:

  1. Do adequate analytical tools exist for assessing and understanding the full consequences of goods movement policy choices?
  2. What is or should be the role of government in managing the goods movement system and moving toward a more efficient and sustainable system?

“Transportation infrastructure planning in California involves a complex process that is dictated largely by federal and state law,” said Papay. “Major infrastructure projects go through several stages of environmental review; the review process for large projects can be a decade or more. Being able to plan effectively is essential for the state’s economic well-being.”

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