The Importance of Policy as the Next Iteration of Transportation Evolves

Day 3 at INTERSECT17 focused on the future of transportation. In his morning keynote address, former Congressman Bob Walker spoke extensively about the importance of policy as the next iteration of transportation evolves. “Nowhere is it more important than in the arena of transportation. Policy has to reflect and it’s not doing so at the present time,” he said. “The regulatory structure in this time of change retards technology rather than advancing it and government is incapable of moving at the speed of technology.” Walker who was hugely influential as the chairman of the U.S. House Science Committee sees a confluence of technologies that all deserve space in the same conversation. “Drones are clearly having an impact. They were toys and now we understand their military and retail applications,” he said. “What happens when they fly passengers? In Dubai, they’re doing it now.”

Walker listed the concepts that are steps away from becoming transportation realities from the possibility of a Hyperloop trip at hundreds of miles per hour to solid state batteries that promise to extend electric vehicle range while recharging in one minute, developments are loaded with promise but also come at a cost. He highlighted the concept of autonomous modules that could one day soon, contribute to declining personal vehicle ownership. “But what about the people who are invested in parking garages?” he said. Walker suggested that people who will inevitably be displaced by the new economy will adapt, developing new skills in line with the requirements of new technologies.

Chairman Walker who is on the board of Space Adventures and chairs the advisory board of The Alliance for Transportation Innovation says that technical advancement will be an international barometer moving forward. “The technologies of the future are going to define that future and those who take the lead on it are going to win,” he said.