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

VTrans Megatrend 2: Technology

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 # 2: Technology, which includes the following three macrotrends.

  • Adoption of Highly Autonomous Vehicles
  • Adoption of Electric Vehicles
  • Growth in Shared Mobility

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

Macrotrend # 2: Adoption of Highly Autonomous Vehicles

Macrotrend Drivers

  • Advancement of vehicle sensing and information processing technologies for automation
  • Industry-wide push and investments towards development of automated vehicles
  • Consumer preferences for safety and openness to vehicle technology

Estimated Market Share of Level 4+ Autonomous Vehicles, Medium Impact Scenario, 2045


What It Means for the Transportation System (In Isolation)

Growth in the number of highly autonomous vehicles, referred to as AVs, is estimated to impact:

  • Roadways’ effective traffic-carrying capacity (11% to 63% for a basic freeway segment)
  • Roadway safety (14% - 51% decrease in number of crashes involving fatalities), and operation costs of vehicles (28% to 83% decrease)
  • Travel demand (12% to 41% increase) depending on the type of vehicle

Please refer to the following resources for more information:

Macrotrend # 3: Adoption of Electric Vehicles

The drivers of this macrotrend include:

  • Technological advancements in EV battery technology
  • Increased vehicle availability of EVs
  • Decreasing manufacturing costs
  • Growth in national charging infrastructure
  • Public policy drivers to reduce GHG emissions, for example, Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

Estimated Market Share of Electric Vehicles, Medium Impact Scenario, 2045


What It Means for the Transportation System (In Isolation)

Adoption of electric vehicles, when combined with automated vehicles, is estimated to increase private vehicle vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by nearly 18% and ridesource VMT by nearly 41%.

Please refer to the following resources for more information:

Macrotrend # 4: Growth in Shared Mobility

The drivers of this macrotrend include:

  • Growth in Broadband, and high prevalence and increasing capabilities of mobile communication devices
  • Increase in number of workers interested in work hour flexibility or willing to work in the ‘gig’ economy

Projected 2045 Share of Urban Area SOV Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Switchable to Ridesourcing/TNC’s and Micromobility, Medium Impact Scenario

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What It Means for the Transportation System (In Isolation)

Growth in Shared Mobility services is estimated to result in nearly 10 million trips in Virginia’s urbanized areas switching from single-occupancy trips to micromobility and ridesourcing.

Please refer to the following resources 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