The Future of Transportation
The United States is a very large, land-mass country. Yet, it
offers few options in terms of coast-to-coast mass public transit, particularly
compared to other developed countries. Europe’s countries tend to be smaller
and their cities more dense, making them more transit-friendly. Asian countries
made enormous government investments in urban rail networks just as their urban
populations began to rapidly expand.1
In the U.S., however, many metropolitan transit systems are
dated and overcrowded. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council reports
more than 6 million rapid rail trips and nearly 1 million suburban rail trips
on any given weekday. One way to free up crowded subway platforms is to run
more trains so there are fewer passengers on each train.2 This would
require substantial investments to update the nation’s passenger railway system.
To add to the problem, auto traffic congestion, air
pollution and fossil fuels are widely believed to contribute to our growing
climate crisis. If there is a silver lining, it’s that the challenge of developing
affordable and environmentally responsible transportation options has led to
innovations that may help the U.S. develop high-speed rail options comparable to
other developed countries.3
Recent market volatility presents a long-overdue reminder
that investing is unpredictable and performance can be upended for any number
of unexpected reasons. That’s why it’s important to diversify investments and
consider companies with solid, long-term growth plans in viable industries.
Growth is frequently tied to demand, and transportation offers the potential for
long-term investments that respond to mass population needs in a sustainable
and environmentally responsible manner. If this is a sector you’d like learn
more about, we can help.
To date, the U.S. government has had little success in
updating the country’s railway systems due to fiscal debt concerns. Now, the
push for improved rail systems is coming from the private sector, including
projects with the potential to connect Washington and New York City in one
hour, a high-speed train network running from Orlando to Miami, and a
high-speed line between Las Vegas and the greater Los Angeles area.4
The city of Lincoln, Nebraska, purchased 10 battery-electric,
zero-emission public transit buses. This is part of its commitment to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by 100 to 160 tons per bus per year, as compared to
traditional clean-diesel buses.5
Another mass transit project anticipating a mammoth facelift
is the traditional American airport. In terms of updating infrastructure and
accommodating future demand, the investment can’t come soon enough. According
to the International Air Transport Association, the number of travelers passing
through airports worldwide is expected to double, rising to 8.2 billion by
Because people spend so much of their travel time arriving
early for security purposes and waiting during layovers, the future airport is
being reimagined as an “aerotropolis.” In other words, they will combine small,
technology-enabled hubs with public spaces featuring waterfalls, gardens and walking
paths, as well as a plethora of retail and restaurant options.7
Content prepared by Kara Stefan
1 Jonathan English. City Lab. Oct. 10, 2018. “Why
Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S.” https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/10/while-america-suffocated-transit-other-countries-embraced-it/572167/. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.
2 Hitachi. 2020. “Key Strategies for Reducing Traffic
Jams.” https://social-innovation.hitachi/en-us/think-ahead/transportation/key-strategies-for-reducing-traffic/. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.
3 Trevor Bach. US News & World Report. Sep. 10,
2019. “U.S. Cities Play Catch-Up on High-Speed Rail.” https://www.usnews.com/news/cities/articles/2019-09-10/us-cities-play-catch-up-on-high-speed-rail. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.
5 Oil & Gas 360. Feb. 27, 2020. “Nebraska’s StarTran
drives sustainability forward with 10 electric buses from New Flyer; celebrates
arrival of first zero-emission bus to Lincoln.” https://www.oilandgas360.com/nebraskas-startran-drives-sustainability-forward-with-10-electric-buses-from-new-flyer-celebrates-arrival-of-first-zero-emission-bus-to-lincoln/. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.
6 Honeywell. Bloomberg. 2020. “What’s the Next Hot
Destination? The Airport.” https://sponsored.bloomberg.com/news/sponsors/features/honeywell/tbt/?adv=24625&prx_t=r3QFAtMA-AWCkPA. Accessed Feb. 28, 2020.
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