Private Sector Innovation Produces Freeway Efficiencies

On March 12th OCBC’s Infrastructure Committee welcomed OCBC member Iteris, which deals with electronics, communications, and information processing technology to improve all aspects of transportation. Iteris CEO Abbas Mohaddes spoke at the meeting about the company’s latest technological developments that inform drivers of real time detours. The company is also looking to the future, developing technology to advise drivers of the best alternative routes. With huge amounts of data, cars will able to diagnose traffic issues and guide the driver to the best route, relieving congestion wherever it may be. Iteris is also looking to partner their products with other technology that helps cars communicate with one another, in order to prevent accidents from ever happening.

Adnan Maiah, acting deputy director of Caltrans’ capital programs, also spoke at the committee meeting about the estimated 67 projects along all highways and interstates that run through Orange County. These projects are important for Orange County to maintain and expand its commonly used highways and interstates. However, Caltrans is anticipating a $300 billion deficit over the next ten years to fund maintenance and expansion projects. Measure M and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have gone a long way to fund many of these projects, but there is a shortage of funding that still needs to be addressed.

The Highway and Interstate systems are critical for transportation throughout the U.S. The average American travels roughly 14,500 miles each year, and traffic congestion wastes nearly $100 billion annually. Even though budgets are tight, putting a hold on major construction projects to improve California’s highway system would be more harmful in the long run. Government and business working together on innovations and efficiencies will ensure a sustainable and well-maintained transportation infrastructure. For more information, contact Dr. Wallace Walrod, Chief Economic Advisor.

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