Another article about my presentation at the Commercial Vehicle Outlook conference: James Jaillet writes in CCJ News “Evolving use of U.S. highways, increasing truck freight efficiency highlight CV Outlook panel on freight infrastructure”
… Smarter trucks, smarter roads and efficiency and financial gains from both were central themes of the panel’s discussion.
Levinson said for the first time since the automobile began its 100-year boom in the early 20th century, miles traveled per capita has stagnated, with demographic changes (retiring baby boomers, for instance) and online commerce being two of the key drivers. Traffic congestion, however, may not be impacted, because total miles traveled in the U.S. is still on the rise due to population increases and other long-term trends.
As the world’s relationship with the automobile changes, Levinson said, so does the potential for alternative fuels and electric-powered vehicles.
“Full battery electric vehicles and plug-in vehicles are coming into the market now,” he said. “If you turn this type of data through an s-curve (a model used to predict uptake of new technologies), you come up with around 2030 for when half of car sales will be electric.”
That uptake will be later for trucks, he said, though he still sees electric trucks on the horizon.
Similarly, Levinson said, around 2030 half of cars sold [ED: I think I said miles traveled] will be some form of autonomous. “Technology will drive regulators rather than the regulators driving technology,” he said.
And as automated lane-keeping systems become more prevalent in heavy trucks and passenger cars, narrower lanes and narrower vehicles could follow, Levinson said. “We can rethink how we design cars,” he said. “With lane keeping systems, we can have narrower lanes and shared lanes. Two cars driving in tandem in a lane,” he said, could reduce congestion and improve overall efficiency of U.S. transportation. …