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  • Webinars
  • MAX Series: Open-Ended Infrastructure for Ground Transportation

MAX Series: Open-Ended Infrastructure for Ground Transportation

Tue 24 May 2022


Roadway infrastructure has long been viewed as immutable: highways, streets, and bridges that have very long design lives (but still require extensive maintenance) and are difficult to change. By comparison, the vehicles that use the infrastructure are much more innovative, adaptable and short-lived. And the end users – commuters, deliverers, travelers and haulers – have learned to expect immediate satisfaction of their demands for movement on the network. Now infrastructure is becoming twinned, connected and an active contributor to traffic control and overall system performance. The use of ITS is now expected, and infrastructure managers have learned to “operate” the infrastructure and extract significant extra value from the physical elements.

In order to unlock greater value from the roadway infrastructure system, we are moving to a more open-ended “system of systems” approach where broader connections and relationships become more critical. For example, the new charging network for electrified vehicles (EVs) is situated within the historically-entrenched roadway network and all of its physical, cyber-physical and institutional ramifications. Closer coupling of the worlds of infrastructure and automotive innovation is unavoidable. And multimodalism is breaking well beyond roadway infrastructure to integrate the modes of rail, maritime and air. The heightened importance of logistics and supply chain entails intermodal connections, but also numerous global enterprises beyond transport including materials, manufacturing and distribution. At the more local level, mobility in our cities relies more on data that enables smarter use of multiple modes old and new.

In the United States, the trillion dollar Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed in November 2021, is historic in its size – the largest ever investments in highway networks, broadband, rail and transit, clean energy, and water, just to name a few. Its breadth of programs and sectors included in the law allocates funding to over 350 distinct programs across more than a dozen federal departments and agencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation is overseeing most of the programs, and the bulk of the project delivery is provided collectively by the state departments of transportation (DOTs). In Australia, strong federal impetus is being provided for safety, digital and physical infrastructure suitability for future transport technology, and clean energy in the national roadway network. End-to-end efficiency of freight networks, and nationally-consistent investment in intermodal freight terminals, is receiving high priority. At the same time, more diverse regional priorities – taking into account regional nodes of national importance – have been identified as pillars of future transport systems.

This webinar will provide an overview of open-ended infrastructure initiatives in the U.S. and Australia, considering better integration and operation of existing assets, as well as innovations such as electrification, data architectures, connectivity, automation, and artificial intelligence. A moderated, cross-cutting discussion will seek to go behind the bold headline statements and highlight societal and economic impacts.


Judd Herzer Director of Strategic Policy, Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity / Office of Future Mobility & Electrification, State of Michigan
Joanne Smail Senior Trade Commissioner | Minister Counsellor (Commercial) / Australian Trade & Investment Commission
Tom Walker Chairman / iMOVE Australia
Dr Peter F. Sweatman Enterprise Professor in Transport Technologies / The University of Melbourne

MAX Signatories and Partners

The MAX: Michigan-Australia Exchange on Future Mobility is a partnership between the State of Michigan and the Australian Government that came into being with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in October 2018 in Melbourne.

Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Michigan Department of Transport
ITS Australia
The University of Melbourne

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