INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECTOR

In constructing a strategy for guiding research and development (R&D) to penetrate international transportation markets, there are important trends to be considered, such as world population distribution, the location of wealth, where the skilled workers are, and where goods will be produced and consumed. At the moment, the United States is an important producer. However, production increasingly will be accomplished outside U.S. borders. Trying to figure out where production is going to occur and where goods are going to be consumed has a lot to do with defining where transportation will be required. International trends show that U.S. economic activity is dwindling from 20% of the world's economic activity toward 10%; that globalization is occurring; that technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, including a revolution in information systems; and that the economic system is embracing more people who historically have been at lower wage levels. All this leads to the increasing importance of systems, integration, and infrastructure, as well as the increasing importance of cost. This will revolutionize transportation. Communication advances will affect transportation in many ways and to a greater measure than any other technologies introduced in the past. They will serve as an alternative to transportation, but also as as stimulators of economic activity. To construct a strategy to help the United States take advantage of transportation opportunities in the international market, it is useful to examine the advantages the United States is fortunate to have, such as experience in solving a wide range of transportation problems, experience and a leading market position in information systems, and a top-notch university system. The United States has a particular advantage in air travel and is a leader in the motor vehicle arena. In rail and ship transportation, however, the United States' capabilities are not as good. Without question, the United States has substantial competence in systems and infrastructure. How should the United States design its slice of the international transportation pie? Making up 5% of the world's population and conducting 20% (and falling) of the world's economic activity, the United States, including its transportation industry sectors, must learn how to compete in the international marketplace. Transportation needs, however, will exist in the international marketplace only if there are other successful economies. There is little the United States can do that is more powerful than to ensure continued growth in global economic activity so that there will be a continued market for transportation. This way, we can provide services in areas in which we are competent. Trying to be dominant in all aspects of transportation might not serve this objective.

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    • This paper is included in the Appendix to Conference Proceedings 9. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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  • Authors:
    • Hermann, R J
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  • Publication Date: 1995

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  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: p. 155-158
  • Monograph Title: FORUM ON FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN TRANSPORTATION R&D, WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 6-7, 1995
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  • Accession Number: 00713062
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309061679
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Oct 20 1995 12:00AM