Understand/ New Technology

MDOT places a high priority on being a cutting-edge state transportation department and a leader among transportation agencies around the country. Two of the 2040 MITP goals are the driving influence behind MDOT's leadership in new technology: promoting safety and security, and operating an efficient and effective transportation system.

Emerging technologies are rapidly enabling innovations in transportation modes and services. Transportation network companies (TNCs) or ridesourcing companies such as Lyft and Uber, microtransit services, courier network services such as Postmates, docked and dockless active transportation modes, connected vehicles and infrastructure, electric vehicles and infrastructure, and autonomous vehicle advancements have already influenced individual behavior, travel patterns, and built environments. Their continued impact on varied arenas—including land use, transit, environment, and economics—will require changes in planning, policy, and operations at the city, regional, and state level.

Michigan can shape the future of transportation within its borders and ensure that technology moves the state further towards goals such as reduced congestion, increased access, and increased system efficiency. By creating a roadmap for change MDOT can prepare for the uncertainties of a rapidly shifting transportation future.

Policies are necessary to shape the vision of the state, and to guide the direction that cities and private industry take. Policy changes in land use and transportation, such as updating parking regulations, are becoming common across the nation, as emerging mobility options restructure how governments achieve their ends. Policy considerations may be value oriented, such as optimizing land use or ensuring equitable access, or they may be focused and regulatory, such as ensuring public safety through autonomous vehicle testing regulations. Implementing both ranges of policy at the statewide level ensures equal access to the benefits, and equal protection from the risks, for cities and counties across Michigan.

Traditional planning and investment techniques are also affected by the current technology revolution. Scenario planning, flexible models, and performance monitoring are replacing traditional forecasting and modeling, as the uncertainty of the future eclipses the reliability of past travel trends. Fortunately, ever-improving technology includes immense amounts of true traveler data, which can be used to analyze shifting travel behavior and trends and make future investment decisions.

Technology and data may also be utilized to improve existing operations. By building in flexibility, understanding user needs, and identifying strategic areas for improvement, MDOT can focus its funding and capacity on the greatest efficiency gains, both now and in the future.