Metro Transport Corporations: A New Model for Managing the Surface Transportation Revolution

Abstract: The benefits of a coming revolution that will be marked by the rise of shared, electric autonomous vehicles (AVs) and the transition from vehicle ownership to a transportation-as-a-service model can only be captured if the transformation is properly managed. To maximize these potential benefits, we propose replacing traditional departments of transportation with quasi-public or quasi-private Metro Transport Corporations that would oversee all surface transportation in a metropolitan area.

Maximizing economic, environmental and quality-of-life benefits will require putting customers first, traditionally not an area in which government agencies excel. It will necessitate culture changes that may well be beyond the grasp of political leaders, bureaucrats and unions that too often view transportation agencies first and foremost as a source of jobs.

Under our proposal, municipalities would deed their transportation assets to the Metro Transport Corporations in exchange for ownership shares. The public sector would continue to hold the largest share, but would be joined by two other classes of owners: companies such logistics and retail companies, as well as banks, whose success is heavily dependent on rising levels of economic activity in the region, and investors simply seeking dividend income.

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