LAS VEGAS — With transportation technology evolving at a rapid clip, state transportation departments are finding themselves focused on a new set of policy questions that go far beyond how to get people from here to there.
At a hotel in Las Vegas, state transportation leaders from more than 25 states shared some of their key priorities and concerns.
Nevada is seeking to provide charging stations for electric vehicles across the entirety of the state’s highway system, while also looking at how to recruit a skilled technological workforce to fit the changing landscape. California is focused on reducing vehicle emissions to achieve its climate goals. South Dakota came to the summit looking to explore applying some of the emerging technologies to their rural landscape.
Pooling vehicles can lower fleet costs for some agencies. But what about eliminating those vehicles altogether? Washington, D.C., is an area known for its congestion. The capital is not very large, but it’s bustling with people, and parking can be hard to come by.
D.C. employees can use an assigned fleet vehicle, or rent one from Fleet Share, the district motor pool. But Fleet Share’s 97 vehicles are first come, first serve, and not always available for the district’s 33,000 employees. Limited parking spots can also mean circling the block looking for an empty space and paying for parking, which can add up quickly.
“While we love our job and we love what we are able to do, the fewer district vehicles on the road, the better,” said Washington, D.C., Department of Public Works Director Christopher Shorter.
Wednesday at CES was all about the outdoors experiences that had gotten washed out in Tuesday’s rain. BMW invited people to compare real and virtual driving with a drifting course that let you do high-speed donuts in the parking lot and a line of simulators so you could try your hand a race-car driving. People were drawn from all over the convention by the sound of squealing tires.
BMW’s entire experience at CES 2018 is designed to explore the driving experience from virtual to ‘in real life.’ During BMW’s panel on “The Future of Racing: The Intersection of Virtual Technology and Real Experience,” there was a provocative discussion about how the goal of virtual reality is not replicating reality.
When attendees look forward to CES each year, they’re just as likely to think about the advances and ideas being showcased by automakers as they are by consumer electronics companies or the startups disrupting everyone’s business—or enhancing, as Postmates is doing for Ford, as they partner to study self-driving technology.