The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has compiled a list of the topics that will be most often talked, written, or tweeted about this year.
1. Enacting a long-term transportation bill.
2. Managing in lean times; how to care for aging assets with stagnant or reduced funding. Watch for: more vehicle-to-vehicle communications, greater use of intelligent transportation systems, accelerated bridge construction, new paving techniques, and “practical design strategies.”
3. Responding to natural disasters. Watch for: more planning for climate adaptation and smarter disaster response plans.
4. Reducing traffic deaths. Watch for: more bans or restrictions on texting and cell phone use while driving; new and improved safety features in automobiles and fleets; targeted investments in infrastructure to save lives, continued public awareness efforts regarding distracted driving, action on the national “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign.
5. Transportation as an issue in the upcoming U.S. presidential campaign.
6. New ways to fund transportation. Watch for: studies on new user-fee mechanisms.
7. States advancing intercity passenger rail.
8. Business community support. Watch for: companies to be more vocal about the link between transportation and staying competitive in a global economy.
9. Serving a growing elderly population, both rural and urban.
10. How state DOTs respond to new stormwater reforms and other environmental regulations. Watch for: increased sharing of best practices.