The Month in Transportation – January

By John Halpin | Associate Account Director

Welcome to our latest review of news from across the transportation world.

Every month, we’ll share interesting links, thoughts and more about the transformation of transportation.

Who wants to be a truck driver?

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg says that the USDOT is making it a priority to recruit more truck drivers, with a commitment of $32 million for states to improve the commercial driving license process. According to the American Trucking Association, the country has 80,000 fewer drivers than it needs.

(Yes, we know we mentioned this in a recent blog post. But it’s still a big transportation issue, and it’s not going away.)

As drivers are paid by the mile, when they’re waiting at a location to get a truck loaded, they’re not getting paid. That can obviously be a problem when there are backups at places like ports, and it’s causing drivers to leave the industry. Something that revising the pay structure is needed.

“We need to look at these compensation issues if we really want to solve long-term challenges in trucking in the U.S,” said Buttigieg. 

Which EV automaker makes charging the easiest?

For now, it’s Tesla, by a lot.  

This techradar article compares Tesla’s Supercharger network, which “features a plentiful supply of units, frequently found in obvious and handy locations,” to a collection of options that frequently mean “you’re never quite sure what you’ll find until you get there.” The piece elaborates as follows:

“Sometimes chargers are hidden away in dimly lit parking lots or obscure locations. Occasionally, you’ll arrive feeling a sense of relief only to find the charger doesn’t exist at all. Or, it might be there, but it’s out of order or has been ICE’d (when a non-electric car blocks a charging bay) by someone, either by accident or intention.”

With that said, there are signs of progress. Audi, Hyundai and VW are offering multiple years of free charging on the Electrify America network. GM has formed a partnership with seven charging networks that provides access to almost 60,000 charging outlets in the U.S. and Canada. And “the likes of Volvo, Kia and, indeed, any sensible automaker with an EV strategy in place are also working to streamline charging into one centralized app or card.”

Stay tuned. And charged.

5G will get us moving

According to a report from Vodafone highlighted in Traffic Technology International, “Connectivity and smart technology via rapid 5G will fundamentally transform our experience of the world – including urban transportation – within the next decade.”

The TTI article notes research by McKinsey that predicts by 2025, cities deploying smart mobility applications could cut commuting times by 15-20 percent on average. Also, “new mobility systems will see vehicles become hubs of experience, enabling the creation of new consumer touchpoints, including self-driving retail concepts.” In short, that would make a car a whole lot more than just a mode of transportation.

Self-driving, by any other name…

The top autonomous vehicle lobbying group – the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets – is changing its name to the Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association. The move is apparently a response to confusion created by Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” feature, which is really an advanced driver-assist feature.

The AVIA was founded in 2016 by Waymo, Ford, Lyft, Uber and Volvo.

The Tar Heel State’s race to zero emissions

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently signed an executive order calling for 1.25 million zero-emission vehicles to be on the road by 2030. This ups the ante on an EO from Cooper’s first term, which aimed for 80,000 such vehicles by 2025.

The order also calls for the state’s overall emissions to be cut by 50 percent by 2030.

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