ITE Journal - April 2021 - 47

An extraordinary effort went into keeping open our eight
Traffic Management Centers, which monitor real-time incidents
and conditions along 3,885 miles (5,448 kilometers) of highway and
communicate vital information to motorists. When COVID-19 hit,
PennDOT distributed hundreds of pieces of computer equipment,
configured them into a network, and within days had established
dozens of home-based monitoring stations that actually handled
more volume in 2020 than the year before.
Even as we grieve the incalculable losses and suffering of the
past year, we also can celebrate the many triumphs of commitment
to service, flexibility, and resilience that stories like these convey-
and there is a multitude of them.

Challenged to Lead
Now is the time to partner with the public to envision the possibilities
for building a new transportation system, one that will support and
advance America for decades to come, and not simply keep patching
up the one our parents and grandparents built five or six decades ago.

LapaiIrKrapai/Shutterstock

PennDOT
PennDOT

To resume non-commercial road testing, PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle
Services staff developed modified testing procedures to keep staff and
participants safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

to help us understand the changes in travel demand and behavior
that may last beyond the pandemic, and to begin to build that
learning into our planning, policies and processes. In doing so,
PennDOT is paying special attention to exploring solutions that
will reduce inequities in the system, build resilience against future
disruptions, improve safety, and support both environmental and
financial sustainability.
By looking at major trend shifts emerging during the pandemic,
the Roundtable developed eleven speculative scenarios, ranging
from factors like telework, walking and biking, transit demand,
ecommerce, and alternate uses of the roadway (see sidebar on
page 48). PennDOT then surveyed dozens of public planners
across Pennsylvania to learn how these developments were being
experienced and thought about locally.
PennDOT is still absorbing the findings from that survey,
but it is clear that the explosive growth witnessed in ecommerce,
remote work, school, and other online life activities will continue,
and that their influence on transportation patterns and needs will
be enormous. And many of these trends are intertwined: transit
demand will affect vehicle-miles-traveled, transit and car trips will
in turn be affected by the resurgence of walking and biking, as well
as emerging micromobility devices that are beginning to take hold.
Housing and commercial real estate patterns are always reshaping
supply chains, and ecommerce will require thinking differently
about our use of the right-of-way to balance the needs of a variety of
emerging, often competing, use cases. Telemobility, be it for work,
shopping, socializing, or health-care delivery, will have a profound
impact on virtually all these other trends.

Envisioning Possibilities
Understanding what our future may look like is a matter of
envisioning possibilities, and at PennDOT, various efforts
are underway with that purpose. One of them has been the
Post-Pandemic Roundtable, a gathering of eminent planning
academics and practitioners who meet with PennDOT regularly
w w w .i t e.or g

Apri l 2021

47


http://www.ite.org

ITE Journal - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - April 2021

ITE Journal - April 2021 - 1
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