Regional Impacts of Telemobility Options: Capitalizing on the Two-Way Relationship Between Infrastructure Investments and Travel Demand

Communications technologies and e-commerce have a profound effects on travel, on the delivery of goods and services, and consequently, on the use of transportation infrastructure. Experiences acquired as a result of travel restrictions or health concerns, e.g., working remotely, are likely to accelerate some of these trends. Furthermore, widespread deployment of (innovative) services as a result of Covid-19, e.g., telehealth, may, fundamentally, alter travel patterns of many population segments. Changing travel behaviors may have significant long-term implications on the tens of billions of dollars that are invested each year to keep highways, rail lines, ports, airports, public transit systems, and other infrastructure in a state of good repair. For example, as e-commerce accelerates, streets in residential neighborhoods support increasing loads associated with delivery vehicles, and, in turn, deteriorate more quickly and require additional investments to provide the same level of service. Perhaps more importantly, as we are redesigning physical and virtual supply chains for delivery of goods and services, there are tremendous opportunities to guide investments in transportation infrastructure that are going to have effects on travel behavior with both immediate and lasting positive economic, social, and environmental consequences. Examples of significant short-term effects of infrastructure investments include increasing employment. Long-term effects include opportunities to improve the efficiency, level-of-service, reliability, resilience of these supply chains. The project objectives are, therefore, to develop a framework to evaluate the regional life-cycle and supply-chain consequences of investments in design, construction, and management of transportation infrastructure, and to validate it by considering a variety of scenarios.