Regulatory Reform & Automation in Freight Transportation

By: Joe Kennedy, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation Senior Fellow
Date: June 12, 2017

Although technological advances have the potential to increase automation in many industries, regulations often prevent companies from capitalizing on these opportunities, in part because regulators often place a lower priority than they should on productivity and innovation.

Intelligent regulatory reform can remove barriers to innovation and significantly increase economic growth. Unfortunately, regulatory reform is much more difficult to accomplish than other major initiatives, such as tax or health-care reform, because change requires a detailed knowledge of the forces shaping each individual industry.

The transportation sector offers a good case study of these opportunities and challenges. In industries such as railroads, trucking, and commercial drones, regulators are struggling with rapid advances in automation that promise significant safety and efficiency benefits to society. Examining how different regulators have encouraged or hindered this automation offers important lessons for other sectors.

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