From Silicon Valley to Detroit, a well-publicized race is on to develop self-driving passenger cars. Congress is looking to pass legislation to create a national framework for ensuring safety and facilitating testing and demonstration, among other steps. But policymakers have paid far less attention to potentially more consequential advances in freight transportation, which plays an integral role in the economy by ensuring that goods and inputs get where they need to go as efficiently as possible.
The freight delivery supply chain is comprised of several industries, including trucks, ships, railroads, airlines (and, in the future, drones), which simultaneously compete and cooperate to make the system hum. Each of these industries is undergoing its own form of rapid improvement as technologies develop to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Federal and state policy can play an important role in advancing adoption of these innovations. But properly supervising rapidly developing technology also presents regulators with significant challenges to effectively ensure both safety and robust innovation; especially given the fact that each freight industry answers to a different authority, lawmakers and regulators should carefully consider the knock-on effects of any rules they draft.
Join ITIF for an expert panel discussion exploring how new technologies are transforming the freight transportation industry and what the best regulatory approaches will be for each industry sector.