Transportation costs are the second largest expense for U.S. households. In addition, on average, we spend more than 40 hours stuck in traffic each year, with the annual incurred cost from congestion estimated to be $121 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 70 million from 320 million in the next 30 years, with the economy forecast to grow 115% to $36.7 trillion and freight volume growing by 45% to 29 billion tons. Truck congestion alone wastes $27 billion in time and fuel every year. By 2040, nearly 30,000 miles of our busiest highways will be clogged on a daily basis. "Once-in-a-century" type of destructive storms could occur every three to 20 years by 2080, with transportation serving already as the second-biggest source of GHGs in the U.S. Future stronger fuel economy standards require that vehicles must get significantly more mileage. Given the general health of U.S. road infrastructure, metrics like VMT can become the basis for necessary and equitable forms of taxation.
The transportation and mobility crisis that we find ourselves in requires the bold application of creative thinking and targeted deployments. In response, the National University Transportation Center for Improving Mobility called Mobility21 investigates technologies, policies, incentives, and training programs for improving the mobility of people and goods in the 21st century efficiently and safely. Mobility21 leverages connected and automated vehicle technologies, smart city technologies like adaptive traffic signals, real-time traveler information services, preventive maintenance techniques, predictive analytics and alternate modes of transportation like bicycles.