It’s widely accepted that we are about to go through the biggest change in road transportation since the first car was sold in 1896. Electric and automated vehicles present an enormous opportunity for stakeholders in road safety. But the time is now. How the industry evolves over the next 5 years will set a series of events in motion that will last a generation or longer.
The challenge to get it right is massive, and that’s precisely why all the stakeholders need to make their opinions heard and collaborate like never before. As systems and technology become the standard, we need to learn how to integrate and improve by taking great ideas and making them better.
We need to engage with one another, embrace innovation, and invest to make it all possible. Everyone in every community deserves roadway safety regardless of budgets or borders.
With the proper use of this advancing technology, our shared industry goal of Zero Deaths is within our reach and it may very well be in our lifetime.
As a result, our traditional roles in transportation are expanding. Here’s how it breaks down.
It’s federal, state, and local government investments that are the economic engine of our roadways. Civic servants distribute tax dollars that make the biggest impact possible to their communities. The responsibility brings with it immense pressure and unfortunately, not all communities have the resources to make necessary maintenance and improvements. Many times its political will and influence that drives decisions. Our highly trained transportation engineers do the best they can with the resources available.
Thomson Reuters reports that by 2040, roughly half of the vehicles on the road will still be powered by fossil fuels, but all new vehicles sold will be EVs. As revenue from the gas tax continues to decrease, legislators will have to find new ways to invest in roadway safety.
The auto manufacturers get the headlines, but inside every car is hundreds of parts manufactured all over the world. From mechanisms to software, these high tech innovators are pushing the boundaries of what is possible. It’s a highly competitive industry with billions at stake. By producing new crash avoidance and road sensing technology, cars are “seeing” our roadways in a scientific way powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Manufacturers have a unique challenge to digitally adapt to our unconnected infrastructure.
Non-profit industry associations serve a very specific purpose to bring stakeholders together to have meaningful conversations. They are the catalyst for partnerships and commerce. Some of these organizations are the Governors Highway Safety Administration, American Traffic Safety Services Association, American Public Works Association, Institute of Transportation Engineers, and others.
It takes time and talent to research and interpret all the data each stakeholder group generates. Thousands of hours go into analyzing case studies, traffic counts and demographics. Our partners from academia keep score by informing us which innovations make the roads safer versus existing solutions.
Road Users and Behaviorists
We need road users too. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicle drivers, and even micro-mobility device users riding on scooters and skateboards. They all have a responsibility to take prudent precautions for their own safety. Over-reliance on technology as it evolves is a dangerous practice that if left unchecked, will claim more lives. Behaviorist organizations and like MADD, who run campaigns like “Buckle Up” train users on best practices.
Roadway infrastructure supporters
This group is the roadway and bridge builders, and makers of all the other objects you see on roadways today. The subset of this group is the roadway safety infrastructure industry. This segment is often considered the linchpin to roadway safety. Its products and people connect all other stakeholders. Their pavement markings, signs and signals guide the connected and automated vehicles. Their guardrails and crash devices protect the users that make mistakes on the roadway. And their work zone devices allow government agencies to efficiently and safely improve and maintain their roads. Further, this is all accomplished with an incredible cost-benefit ratio of over ten dollars for every dollar spent. *
It does so by being capable of targeting high-risk roadway problems and derives high benefits from relatively low-cost technologies and strategies. Although digital technology abounds in the roadway safety infrastructure industry, innovation doesn’t always have to be digital. One deceptively simple, yet ingenious device is called the LaneAlert 2x. This is an innovative pavement marking with mono-directional messaging that warns drivers when they travel the wrong way, most often causing immediate self-correction.
Collectively, we can make the biggest impact the transportation the world has ever seen! We have the opportunity to protect and save the lives of our mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters of today and the future, but it’s going to take us all moving in the same direction. The Zero deaths initiative was once an optimistic and idealist view of traffic safety, but now the goal is in reach and it may just happen in our lifetime if we can pull together.
About Greg Driskell
As the founder and president of PPP Transportation Safety, Greg has been described as a creative visionary with an unrelenting passion to save lives by improving roadway safety. His strengths of innovation and leadership coupled with a systematic approach to business have allowed him to forge decades of history as a successful entrepreneur, public speaker and writer.
He shares that his uncompromising Christian faith and strong sense of family are the foundations for which has inspired him both professionally and personally. Greg serves as the Chairman of the American Transportation Safety Services Association and is also an active member of many industry and trade associations. He volunteers as the PACE chairman for the Institute of Worship Studies and is a member of The C12 Group. Greg is grateful for a wonderful 28-year marriage to his wife Debbie and a proud father of three adult children all residing in the Jacksonville, Florida area.
Greg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-717-7771.
*ATSSA’s Roadway Safety Program: Economic Impact of $3.0 billion Annual Safety Initiative
This article originally appeared in https://pppcatalog.com/blog-post/the-new-roles-in-transportation-safety/