The world stands at the cusp of an unusually dynamic period in transportation’s journey to the future. Legacy technologies coexist with powerful forces pushing forward revolutionary innovation. While cars and other vehicles using conventional fuels are forcing climate change, transportation innovations such as electric and automated vehicles to smart infrastructures are creating new lifestyles where transportation reduces carbon emissions. Transportation innovation creates technological and societal “tipping points” that will transform transport. Nevertheless, the direction and consequences of these “tipping points” are yet to be determined. This course explores transportation innovation at the “systems” level to determine whether or not we are bound to the past or moving actively towards a new future. The course assesses uncertainties regarding the capacity to innovate at a rate that will stimulate sustainability, resilience, and livability. The use of these theories and tools will facilitate a more rigorous approach to anticipating the unintended, synergistic, and circular (feedback) effects of transportation innovation processes. This course covers the following topics: mechanisms of climate change; role and efficacy of climate models; legacy transportation technologies versus revolutionary transportation innovations; assessing alternative climate change futures through existing patterns of technological change; identifying exogenous and endogenous threats; and planning for the future through tools borrowed from a variety of disciplines (e.g., public participation, uncertainty and complexity studies, innovation roadmaps, and portfolio management). Because new policies and practices depend on innovation, the course includes group projects designed to build skills for evaluating the direction of innovation over the short, mid, and long-term and the inherent capacity of a particular locality or region to contribute to systemic technological change.
Transportation, Innovation, and Climate Change
01/22/2024 - 05/07/2024