Right-of-Way Strategies for Enabling Emerging Technologies
Texas is poised to be a hotbed of unprecedented advancement in technology and new investment, and transportation is the thread that weaves it all together. This tremendous opportunity must be met with a willingness to adapt, plan for new challenges, and understand the intersection of transportation with economic and social development. TxDOT should take steps to ensure it is one of the primary enablers of growth and is ready to be the cornerstone of advancement for the state. Texas can learn lessons from efforts by other state departments of transportation (DOTs) to help with its own work to expand charging and broadband infrastructure. Ensuring adequate preparation by rethinking existing right-of-way (ROW) usage can position Texas to more easily meet its own goals. This will ensure that Texas continues to be a leader in transportation and creates the foundation for the rollout of emerging technologies across the state. This paper is organized into three sections: a deep dive into electrification and how ROW can be an asset for expansion; the essential spine that is broadband and how Utah has become a leader through smart policies; and how these technologies intersect to enable future mobility deployments such as connected and autonomous vehicles. The thread that connects them all is a willingness to be forward-thinking both in policy and in practice, and altering uses of the state ROW to propel Texas to be a leader in the mobility space.