Is the single-occupant vehicle doomed? Will tollbooths soon appear on our interstate highways? And what can state and local governments do to prepare?

by , / April 30, 1997
Shortly after President Clinton announced the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA), Government Technology interviewed a group of experts about the bill and its
funding for intelligent transportation systems. What does the future hold? Is the single-occupant vehicle doomed? Will tollbooths appear soon
on our interstate highways? And what can state and local
governments do to prepare?


Question 1:

On March 12, President Clinton announced the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA), which will contain a $600 million incentive program "to help urban areas integrate their intelligent transportation systems." One of NEXTEA's nine core areas is "improving transportation through technology." Any comments about NEXTEA and how it addresses the nation's priorities?

Question 2:

Are things like crash avoidance radar, self-guiding highways, weigh-in-motion systems, automated toll booths, etc. just frills, or will they have a significant effect on traffic congestion and safety in the future? Which ones seem to be working and which aren't?

Question 3:

Much has been written about how telework, electronic commerce, virtual offices, etc. will reduce traffic, and may eventually allow a significant portion of today's workforce to work at home. Is this just wishful thinking, or will these technologies profoundly change our "drive to work" culture and relieve congestion on our highways?

Question 4:

What's our transportation scene going to look like in 10 years? Is the single-occupant vehicle doomed?

Question 5:

What should states, cities and counties be doing today to prepare for tomorrow's transportation challenges?

Question 6:

What other technological advances have potential to help us conquer our transportation problems?

Question 7:

Will we be seeing tollbooths on our interstate highways, increased gasoline taxes, higher fees for rush-hour driving, and higher licensing and other expenses to pay for highway infrastructure improvements?

Question 8:

Any other comments?

James Constantino
is president and chief executive officer of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), a nonprofit organization founded to coordinate and accelerate the application of advanced technologies to surface transportation. He has an extensive background in transportation research, development, education and policy in government, industry and academia.

Previously, Dr. Constantino was a professor of transportation engineering at George Mason University and an associate dean and professor of engineering at George Washington University. He was also a senior executive with several firms prominent in the use of advanced technology in transportation.

In his federal government career, Dr. Constantino held a senior position at the Federal Aviation Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation. He served the U.S. DOT Secretary's representative in implementing federal programs in state and local governments. His most recent federal position was as director of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Dr. Constantino holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering, a Master of Systems Engineering and a Ph.D. in business and economic research.

He is a registered professional engineer; a director of the National Society of Professional Engineers; a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

James H. Matteson
P.E., director of Street Transportation, City of Phoenix. As director of the Street Transportation Department, Mr. Matteson is in charge of a staff of nearly 700, who plan, design, construct, and maintain the 4000-mile network of streets in the City of Phoenix. One of the largest cities in the United States, Phoenix boasts of its wonderful climate and outdoor lifestyle. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the Sunbelt, stretching the resources of the community. Mr. Matteson's department is responsible for all storm drainage management and streetlighting for the city, traffic operations, and long-range transportation planning, in addition to the street systems.

Mr. Matteson was raised in the Northwest, and took both his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington. He is a licensed Professional Civil Engineer and Traffic Engineer in five Western states. He is a Fellow in the Institute for Transportation Engineers, and a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, from which he received the QBS award in 1995, and the American Public Works Association, which awarded him the "Top Ten Public Works Leader" in 1993. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the American Public Works Association.

Jose-Luis Mesa
director, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Secretariat, Metropolitan Dade County, Fla. Jose-Luis is responsible for administering and directing the metropolitan area intermodal transportation planning program and for the supervision of an office of 15 senior transportation planning professionals.

One of the main responsibilities of the MPO staff is to propose and initiate transportation services and infrastructure projects. More and more these projects are being oriented to make greater use of electronic technology applications. Therefore, staff is proposing on a more frequent basis the acquisition of electronic equipment of all types to install and operate as part of the existing and of any newly built or operated facility or service.

Norman Y. Mineta
is senior vice president and managing director of Lockheed Martin IMS' Transportation Systems and Services line of business, based in Washington, D.C. He oversees the company's work in commercial vehicle operations and electronic toll and traffic management.

Mr. Mineta's public service career spans more than 30 years. Upon joining Lockheed Martin in October 1995, he ended a 21-year career with the U.S. House of Representatives, to which he was elected in 1974. A former chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee, he co-authored the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, the first rewrite of the nation's transportation laws since the mid-1950s.

Mr. Mineta served previously as a city council member, vice mayor and mayor of San Jose, Calif. &emdash; the first Japanese American mayor of a major U.S. city. Other highlights of his legislative career were the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which redressed the injustices endured by Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II.

Graham J. Norton
has served as director of Montgomery County, Md.'s Department of Public Works and Transportation since its inception in March 1996. Prior to that, he was director of the county's Department of Transportation (1991-1996) and Department of Facilities and Services (1988-1991). He retired from active duty with the U.S. Army in 1988 after thirty years service with the Corps of Engineers. His last eight years of service were spent as director of Public Works at Ft. Campbell, Ky. (1984-1988) and Ft. George G. Meade, Md. (1980-1984). Prior assignments included tours as deputy district engineer, U.S. Army Engineer District, Baltimore, Md.; chief, Construction Management Branch, U.S. Forces, Korea; commander 76th engineer battalion at Ft. Meade; and staff engineer, 5th Special Forces Group, Republic of Viet Nam.

He is commissioner on the Washington Metropolitan Transit Commission; a member of the Washington Council of Government's Transportation Planning Board; and a board member of Public Technology Inc.'s Transportation Task Force, a national group working to assist local governments in moving to the use of advanced transportation technology.

Graham J. Norton, Director, Montgomery County Maryland, Department of Public Works and Transportation.

As a large jurisdiction located on the northern boundary of the nation's capital, Montgomery County, Maryland has seen explosive growth in population and traffic over the last fifteen years. Its 3000 mile roadway system is essentially built out and will be hard pressed to accommodate the substantial increases in traffic projected for the next 20 years. To solve the problems presented by these realities the county has moved aggressively to find ways to prepare itself for the future. The Department of Public Works and Transportation has been deploying an Advanced Transportation Management System. This fully intermodal traffic/transit system has the goal of maximizing the efficiency of the existing and planned transportation network.

He possesses a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Rhode Island and a M.S. in industrial engineering from Arizona State University.

He resides in North Potomac, Md. with his wife, Maryan and son, Andrew. He has three other children.

Jerry Werner
is publisher of ITS Online , the top online publication covering intelligent transportation systems field with over 100,000 visits to its cover page alone in less than two years. ITS Online is a combination newsletter, discussion forum, and ITS "information central." Its goal is to foster an effective dialog between technology providers and technology users.

Mr. Werner has been involved in the ITS field as a technology strategy consultant (Werner Associates, Austin, TX) since 1991. He is an expert in technology collaboration, having served as director of Technology Transfer for the VLSI CAD Program at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC), one of the first and largest multi-company R&D consortia, from 1984 through 1990. Mr. Werner is a graduate electrical engineer (University of Illinois).

Douglas W. Wiersig
Ph.D, P.E., is currently the executive director of Houston TranStar. TranStar is a cooperative effort between Harris County, City of Houston, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) and Texas Department of Transportation to provide integrated transportation and emergency operations throughout the greater Houston area.

Previously, Dr. Wiersig was director of transportation fro Cobb County, Ga. in the Atlanta metropolitan area where he was responsible for all transportation related issues and programs including aviation, engineering, maintenance, traffic and transit operations.

Prior to Cobb, De. Wiersig was an assistant director for the City of Dallas Department of Transportation, and responsible for transportation planning and policy issues.

Dr. Wiersig is a registered professional engineer and active in numerous professional organizations including: ITS America, Transportation Research Board, AASHTO, ITE, American Society of Civil Engineers and American Public Works Association.

Dr. Wiersig is chairperson of the Transportation Task Force of Public Technology Inc.; member or Texas A&M University ITS Research Center for Excellence; and chairperson of the ITE Speed Hump Task Force.