Today the Highway & Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on ‘Innovation in Surface Transportation’. The Coalition for Smarter Transportation (CoaST) attended as well as provided the following statement ahead of the hearing:
The Coalition for Smarter Transportation (CoaST) is grateful the Highways & Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will be holding a hearing on innovation in surface transportation. CoaST is an organization of public and private entities working to encourage smarter transportation. We want to thank Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
We view ‘smarter’ transportation in two ways, first, integrating and leveraging innovation and technology into our transportation system will yield fantastic outcomes. Second, we must implement smarter transportation policies at all levels of government. CoaST recognizes that technology alone will not solve our transportation issues. Increasing the amount we invest in our transportation system is incredibly important, but we must also integrate smarter transportation policies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our system. We believe that by focusing on smarter transportation policies, we can create an unmatched world-class transportation system and get the most out of taxpayer dollars.
Finally, we must recognize that not all technology is good for the public, and not all innovation comes from a new gadget or app. Policy should not pick winners or losers but should set expectations and chart a course for desired outcomes.
We are excited to hear what today’s witnesses have to say and for your review, we have attached a copy of our principles. We look forward to sharing our ideas with you as Congress begins to reauthorize the FAST Act.
During the hearing, Chairman Graves noted the role innovation could have in solving congestion and safety issues. Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton followed by addressing about the way transportation is no longer about just cars, trucks, and buses.
The testimony of the witnesses is below, as are highlights of the hearing:
- Mr. James Barna, Executive Director, DriveOhio | Written Testimony
- Ms. Julia Castillo, Executive Director, Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency (on behalf of the Community Transportation Association of America) | Written Testimony
- Mr. Shailen Bhatt, President & Chief Executive Officer, ITS America | Written Testimony
- Mr. Randell Iwasaki, Executive Director, Contra Costa Transportation Authority | Written Testimony
Mr. Barna of DriveOhio talked about Ohio’s automated and connected testbed.
Mr. Bhatt provided a number of examples of innovation in transportation.
Ms. Castillo talked about how innovation is helping small and rural transit systems adapt and grow.
Mr. Iwasaki spoke about the many things they are doing in the Contra Costa County to utilize, test, and promote innovation. As a part of that testimony, he referenced work he was doing with CoaST member Scoop.
In the Question & Answer portion, Ms. Norton asked about the role of the Federal government in innovation and questioned how some innovation diminishes existing transit investments. Each panelist agreed that there must be Federal involvement.
In response to Chairman Shuster questions, Mr. Bhatt and Ms. Castillo spoke about how innovation will reduce costs and improve safety.
Congressman Graves (R-LA) talked about missed opportunities and need for additional investment in innovation.