A System at Risk (click title to download) is a comprehensive analysis of the economic competitiveness and quality of life in America. Written for the layman and the professional alike, it describes an impending crisis in the surface transportation system, which is the foundation of our economic vitality.
Because highways in the U.S. are perceived to be "free", the demand is unbounded. The lack of a direct relationship between price and demand have led to a failing transportation system with increasing urban congestion and failing infrastructure. Tolling is an alternative to present funding mechanisms such as gas tax and roadway pricing has been more recognized as a method of affecting driver choice. New philosophies and strategies for mobility are beginning to be developed that incorporate more than just adding capacity. It is a challenging environment for the traditional toll agency and transportation department.
Public agencies must adopt public private partnership concepts, design/build strategies and speed the development of infrastructure projects. Pricing of transportation will only be adopted in transportation agencies lead the way and convince policymakers of the advantages of pricing. The approach cannot simply be an extension of traditional public sector thinking. New organization delivery models and funding approaches will be necessary, especially as the industry implements more transportation technology and vehicle technology advances.