U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, will convene a hearing titled, “Examining Technological Innovations in Transportation,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The hearing will examine the adoption of technology by transportation stakeholders and the effects of technology on the surface transportation network. Witnesses will discuss new technologies in the transportation sector, associated impacts, and the benefits and challenges to deploying such technologies.
- Mr. Steve Ingracia, Deputy Director of Technology and Strategic Planning, Nebraska Department of Transportation
- Mr. Shailen Bhatt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Intelligent Transportation Society of America
- Mr. Patrick Duffy, President, Blockchain in Transport Alliance
- Mr. Brent Hutto, Chief Relationship Officer, Truckstop.com
- Ms. Ann Schlenker, Director, Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory
*Witness list subject to change
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety
This hearing will take place in the Dirksen Senate Office Building 562. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman Deb Fischer
I am pleased to convene the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety for our hearing today titled “Examining Technological Innovations in Transportation.”
Everyone here today knows that technology is increasingly changing how we work, stay in contact with friends and family, and go about our daily lives. The transportation sector is no exception.
Technology is already changing how we move people and goods across this country. And there is potential for new technology to improve safety, efficiency, and mobility across our surface transportation system. But with great potential comes challenges. The process of adopting new technologies, especially across a complex system like the U.S. transportation network, can come in fits and starts.
Today the subcommittee has an opportunity to learn about the potential new technologies that can be offered, and the challenges and changes that could come from their adoption. As members of this subcommittee, and Congress more broadly, are debating and considering legislation to reauthorize the FAST Act, it is important to understand innovations within the transportation system already happening on the ground.
This is by no means the first time Congress has debated new technologies in transportation. The FAST Act added intelligent transportation systems technology as eligible activities under several federal-aid funding programs. It also established new programs, such as the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment program, which provides grants to states to deploy large scale transportation technologies.
I was pleased to see the Nebraska Department of Transportation (DOT), working with the Wyoming and Utah departments of transportation, receive a $2.8 million Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies grant this April. Nebraska’s innovative project will incorporate sensors along I-80 to support Nebraska DOT’s understanding and ability to respond to traffic and weather conditions. Additionally, recognizing that traffic and weather don’t correspond to state boundaries, this project will support and enable the sharing of road condition information between Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. I look forward to hearing more about this and similar projects.
Just as federal, state, and local governments could improve infrastructure, traffic flow, and safety by adopting new technologies, the private sector also is looking to technology for improvements. Innovations like digital freight matching and visibility could improve the management of available resources, resulting in more efficient uses of our current infrastructure. Blockchain also has the capacity to heighten efficiencies and optimize costs for transportation and logistics. Blockchain-powered smart contracts offer the potential to better enforce conditions and validate data through the entire supply chain – improving vehicle fleet and freight tracking, capacity monitoring, platooning, on-time delivery, payment management, and regulatory compliance.
However, the benefits from new technologies are not a foregone conclusion. Technology that is adopted today may look very different 10 years from now. Today’s hearing gives us a chance to understand what technologies are available today, their potential for tomorrow, and the obstacles that need to be overcome along the way. It also provides us an opportunity to consider what role Congress should have in technology development and deployment as we consider a reauthorization of the FAST Act.
We have several witnesses before the committee today that can speak directly about the current and future deployment of transportation technologies. I am grateful to all of the witnesses for their willingness to travel to participate in this hearing. I am particularly pleased to have Steve Ingracia from the Nebraska DOT here to talk about the exciting work happening in our state.
I look forward to testimony from our witnesses.
I would now like to invite my colleague, Senator Duckworth, to offer her opening remarks.
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Steve IngraciaDeputy Director of Technology and Strategic PlanningNebraska Department of Transportation
Mr. Shailen BhattPresident and Chief Executive OfficerIntelligent Transportation Society of America
Mr. Patrick DuffyPresidentBlockchain in Transport Alliance
Mr. Brent HuttoChief Relationship OfficerTruckstop.com
Ms. Ann SchlenkerDirectorCenter for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory