VTrans is Virginia's Transportation Plan. It is prepared for the Commonwealth Transportation Board by the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment.

VTrans Megatrend 3: Consumption

In the first step for the Draft Policy for the Development and Monitoring of VTrans Risk & Opportunity Register VTrans identifies four Megatrends (ClimateTechnologyConsumption, and Socio-Demographics). This webpage focuses on Megatrend # 3: Consumption, which includes the following two Macrotrends:

  • Growth in E-commerce
  • Greater Automation of Production and Services

Given the uncertainty, three estimates (High, Medium, and Low) are developed for each of the Macrotrends. Cumulative impacts of these three and other macrotrends are estimated in Step 3 of the policy.

Macrotrend # 5: Growth in E-commerce

The drivers of this macrotrend include:

  • Customer convenience and expectations
  • Consumer willingness to pay for delivery shipping services
  • Productivity gains due to automation of warehousing

E-commerce Market Share of Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) trade, Medium Impact Scenario, 2045

This chart intended for larger browser screens


What It Means for the Transportation System (In Isolation)

Growth of E-commerce is projected to continue and is estimated to reach up to 31% of the total Business-to-Consumer sales. This is projected to decrease personal vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and increase heavy-vehicle VMT.

Please refer to the following resources for more information:

Macrotrend # 6: Greater Automation of Production and Services

The drivers of this macrotrend include:

  • Growth of E-commerce
  • Expanded use of just-in-time lean production
  • Increased use of machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Digitization of production and distribution

Market Shares of 3D Printing Output and Drone Deliveries, Medium Impact Scenario, 2045


What It Means for the Transportation System (In Isolation)

Greater Automation of production and services are estimated to multiple facets of transportation. For example, market share of short-range drone deliveries of the total e-commerce sales is estimated to be as high as 25%, leading to an estimated reduction in the overall vehicle miles traveled.

Please refer to:

Cumulative Impacts of these Macrotrends on Virginia’s Transportation Goals

Cumulative impacts of these macrotrends are identified in Step 3 of the Policy for Development and Monitoring of VTrans Risk & Opportunity Register.

Refer to the Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register page for more information.

Noteworthy Items

  • The intent is to prepare, not predict. This risk-based approach allows for identification and analysis of a range of potential impacts to help determine temporal proximity and relative priority.
  • Policy drivers can modify trends to achieve more desirable outcomes.
  • The Policy for Development and Monitoring of VTrans Risk & Opportunity Register allows for monitoring and annual reporting of these trends.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Looking for more specific information about the Draft Policy for the Development and Monitoring of VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register? Find more information on our Frequently Asked Questions page