Roger Millar (above) – secretary of the Washington Department of Transportation and 2022-2023 president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – recently outlined how he thinks America’s mobility needs are changing.
[Above image by AASHTO]
The video – produced by AASHTO’s Transportation TV– examines the emphasis areas Millar is focused on during his one-year tenure as AASHTO’s president as well as how his past experiences shaped his view of transportation’s role in society.
Making the nation’s transportation system more resilient has been a major focus for Millar for much of his career. He explained during a recent roundtable discussion at the 2023 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting that “resiliency” involves more than just toughening up infrastructure to withstand severe weather events and natural disasters.
“Resilience is a broad part of what we do in my world,” Millar said. “Many think of resilience in the context of climate change and natural disaster response, but to me, it is also about the need to prepare for and adapt to changing conditions such as shifting demographics, an aging population that will drive fewer cars, and economic changes such as moving from extraction industries like forestry and mining to technology and software companies.”
He said resilience also encompasses the need for transportation systems to become “smarter” as well.
“Now we are moving to be stewards of our multimodal transportation system rather than builders,” Millar added. “There is no way that we can grow our highway system to keep up with increasing congestion and [travel and freight] demand – there is no way we can build our way out of this. So we need to think about our transportation infrastructure in smarter ways – ways to get more out of what we have. When we need to add capacity, we need to be strategic about it and multimodal about it.”