Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology Discusses Surface Transportation R&D
(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing to discuss the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) surface transportation research and development (R&D) portfolio and the role of technology in in the development of future transportation capabilities.
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) said, “Historically the Department has put a priority on its highway programs, but more young people are choosing dense urban areas instead of moving to the suburbs and don’t necessarily need cars.” She then asked about how DOT can prioritize multimodal research and expand its investments beyond highways.
In his testimony, Dr. Christopher Barkan, Professor and George Krambles Faculty Fellow and Executive Director, Rail Transportation and Engineering Center, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign said, “The economic competitiveness of the United States in the global marketplace is highly dependent on safe, reliable and efficient movement of people and goods over an integrated, balanced, multi-modal transportation network…UTCs are a critical element in our nation’s ability to achieve this goal and should be reauthorized in full. The legislative language should clearly support a multi-modal focus…”
Ranking Member Dan Lipinski (D-IL) said in his opening statement, “We all have multiple places we need to get ourselves and our families to and from in a day and we all wish we could do it quicker and cheaper. I cannot overemphasize the need for long-term investments in transportation to keep people and commerce moving…If we are committed to making our transportation system more reliable and more efficient, while at the same time ensuring that transportation planners are wisely investing taxpayer dollars, we need to have a robust and effective transportation R&D program.”
Members and witnesses discussed a number of issues including vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies; the FCC’s decision to explore allowing unlicensed devices to use the 5.9 GHz band of spectrum that has been set aside for V2V and V2I technology; and University Transportation Centers (UTCs); the importance of longer term research; and priorities for surface transportation reauthorization legislation. They also discussed the importance of multimodal research.
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), in her statement for the record, said, “The nation’s Interstate Highway System, a significant achievement of the Eisenhower Administration, is now nearly 60 years old. Our state DOTs are constantly repairing the decades-long wear and tear we have put on our roads, bridges, and tunnels. While growth across the country increases jobs and revenue, it also increases traffic congestion, accidents, and air pollution. Fortunately, we are approaching a turning point in transportation technology and innovation…To reap the benefits of this paradigm-shifting research, my colleagues and I must come together from both sides of the aisle to support a multi-year, bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill that includes strong research provisions.”