Designing a Second Generation Interstate (I2) Program

by Jim Haugen

I suggest that a meaningful program should begin with a clearly stated objective such as below. The participants should debate: (1) modifications to this objective; (2) how to get such a meaningful program started; (3) what kind of organization is appropriate; (4) where does the funding come from; (5) who leads it; (6) what are the system requirements; and (7) what and where are the best initial applications. The focus should be on defining an appropriate program. Therefore, inventor's transportation concepts should be excluded and debated elsewhere.

Suggested I2 Objective

A joint public-private R&D program should be established whose objective is: The definition of a second generation Interstate Highway system (I2), which could begin implementation within the next 20 years. This program will seek to significantly advance highway system operations beyond today's stagnated and/or deteriorating performance, in important dimensions, such as:

Higher Vehicle speeds, both private and commercial

Increased levels of automation, including the possibility of dualmode operations

Better sustainability

Improved congestion control

New standards of safety and trustworthiness

New standards in quality of service

This I2 system design would be sufficiently flexible to be applied to either modify or supplement current freeway operations, in their entirety or in part, in different regions of the country. It must include consideration of interfaces to existing urban road networks. It should include simulation and practical experimentation as necessary in order to validate important technologies and application concepts.

Let's start the debate with this.

Why am I disillusioned with the current debate? The whole debate is wrapped around inventor's concepts, all of which have very fundamental application weaknesses and, in my opinion, will never achieve significant deployments. My experience says that their usefulness will, instead, be limited to various technology demonstrations. Regardless, debate regarding their limitations and strengths should be separated from debate on how to get a meaningful national dualmode/I2 program started.


Last modified: October 07, 2001