Research Reports

Telecommunications for Sustainable Transportation

Principal Investigator:

Frank Douma

December 2003

Report no. Mn/DOT 2004-10

Projects: Telecommunications and Sustainable Transportation

Topics: Economics, Planning

This report investigates how advances in telecommunications-based technologies could aid in making transportation more sustainable. The first task examined the effect of telecommunications on work and shopping trips. The second task focused on how transit could be improved through new technology; specifically, whether the addition of GPS-based technology to flexible, on-demand paratransit services has the potential to serve the general public. The third task considered how wireless telecommunications, particularly e-911 services, could improve transportation system safety in rural areas. These efforts found that particular opportunities exist. Advances in residential broadband telecommunications may lead to increased travel, which demonstrates a need for increased collaboration between telecommunication and transportation infrastructure planning. Similarly, emergency response services would benefit from increased cooperation between transportation agencies, local telecommunications providers, and emergency response services. Finally, new GPS technologies create opportunities for paratransit services to provide trips to the general public as a complement to existing fixed-route services in areas with low population densities. Finally, more research is needed, as careful targeting of the improvements would maximize the benefits from these developments. A particular area of need is in understanding interorganizational process, as these recommendations call for providers to reach beyond their traditional expertise.

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