Smart highways mean smart business
Former Clinton U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation discusses future of surface transportation business and technology
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Oliver McGee, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy in the Clinton Administration, gives his take on the future of surface transportation technologies and how they will impact the business of the nation’s freight transportation enterprise.
According to World Trade 100′s, Gail Dutton, reporting on the intersection of business and technology, “Passing the 2012 surface transportation bill was one thing. Implementing it is quite another. Two months before the legally-required October 1, 2013 implementation deadline for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), guidelines were still being developed that would be used to write the final implementing regulations. Add the government spending debates and government shutdown and the impending battle over the government spending ceiling and it is little wonder that the final rules are not yet final.”
“MAP-21 is the policy architecture for the 21st Century,” notes Oliver McGee, former U.S. deputy assistant transportation secretary under President Clinton and founder of Partnership Possibilities for America. As WT100′s Dutton reports, “MAP-21 forms the framework upon which specific regulations will be crafted and, as such, is a legacy document for future transportation secretaries, [McGee] stresses. MAP-21 established the framework to improve the condition and performance of the national freight network. Its goals include improving competitiveness, efficiency, congestion, productivity, safety, security and resilience of freight transportation. Achieving those goals includes the use of advanced technology to improve performance and accountability. For the first time, the bill calls for developing a national freight strategy and a national freight network.”
“The national freight network is a signal that the [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] FMCSA is trying to be a smart agency,” McGee says. “FMCSA is trying to make a network that is as smart and sophisticated as that of the FAA.” The U.S. has seven grand challenge problems — infotech, biotech, wireless tech, microtech, nanotech, cognitotech, and eldertech,” he explains. Transportation involves many of them in terms of developing and deploying the technology to move people and things safely and efficiently. “They all must be integrated to create a smart motor carrier administration.”
“MAP-21 has accomplished quite a bit already in terms of getting more information to drivers,” McGee says. He cites such industry accomplishments as the growing use of electronic on-board devices that provide information about vehicle operations and status, in-cab communications so drivers can always be contacted and the increased development and sharing of best practices. “We still have a long way to go in reducing fatalities,” he adds. He suggests that making surface transportation systems smarter will help.
Ports Not Addressed
McGee agrees with various surface transportation experts cited in World Trade 100, Has Map-21 Lost Direction?: “There continues to be annual decreases in investment now on how ports are addressed in MAP-21. Tightening investments for ports continues, particularly towards the “Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery” (TIGER) grant funding for addressing intermodal and infrastructural development gaps between the nation’s ports and jurisdictional homeland security concerns. Congressional earmarks for TIGER grants have dropped from $1.5 billion in 2009, to less than $475 million in 2013.”
“As we have technological advances, what is deployed is an economic decision,” McGee emphasizes.
Shippers, carriers and brokers alike also need to begin thinking about the type of freight network they want in 2050, McGee says. “We were planning MAP-21 in 2000. Now we’re looking at 2015 through 2050.” Although he says he does not envision “too many dramatic shifts,” in the near future, the integrated dimensions of the seven grand challenge problems will form the basis of the next generation transportation system. It will incorporate technologies we can barely imagine today. “If we’re visionary and vigilant, and if we provide very good services for the public, they will follow this plan,” McGee asserts.
About Partnership Possibilities for America:
Founded by Oliver McGee in 2010, the mission of Partnership Possibilities of America is to provide focused expertise and leadership by fostering greater public awareness, appreciation, advocacy, and advancement of social, technological, educational, economic, and political (STEEP) capacity of philanthropy working across government, university, and industry partnerships.
About Oliver McGee:
Oliver G. McGee III is a teacher, a researcher, an administrator, and an advisor to government, corporations and philanthropy. He is professor of mechanical engineering and former Vice President for Research and Compliance at Howard University. Dr. McGee is former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc. He was Professor and former Chair (2001-2005) of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science at Ohio State University. He is the first African-American to hold a professorship and a departmental chair leadership in the century-and-a-quarter history of Ohio State University’s engineering college. Dr. McGee has also held several professorships and research positions at Georgia Tech and MIT. McGee is the former United States (U.S.) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Technology Policy (1999-2001) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and former Senior Policy Advisor (1997-1999) in The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a graduate of UCLA John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management’s 2013 Director Education and Certification Program. McGee is a 2012-2013 American Council on Education Fellow at UCLA Office of the Chancellor Gene Block. He is a 2013 University of California Berkeley Institutes on Higher Education (BIHE) graduate. He is also an Executive Leadership Academy Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley Center of Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), Inc. McGee is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities’ (AASCU) Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Fellow – educational leadership and management development programs for prospective university chancellors and presidents. Education Background: Ohio State University, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Masters of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering, University of Arizona, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Engineering Mechanics, Aerospace Engineering (Minor), The University of Chicago, Booth School, Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Certificate of Professional Development (C.P.D.), Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy – Certificate of Fund Raising Management (C.F.R.M.). Partnership Possibilities for America – Invested in STEEP Giving Forward, founded by McGee in 2010, is based in Washington, DC.
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