OnTrackNorthAmerica (OTNA) and Cisco Systems, Inc. (Cisco) announce their partnership to build the next generation of transportation life-cycle cost and benefit measurement tools. The purpose of this project is to develop clear, functional measures for future planning and investing in transportation infrastructure. Once established, OTNA and Cisco will make the dataset and analytical framework available for wide adoption. The co-leaders will present their draft list of measures for stakeholders to expand and fine tune during a series of “Intelliconferences” this fall.

Barry EinsigBarry Einsig, Cisco’s Global Transportation Executive, says, “We are pleased to join OTNA in addressing the timely need for agreement on what we want transportation investments to produce for us as a nation and a continent.”

According to OTNA’s president, Michael Sussman, “Applying a rational approach to measuring the life-cycle costs and benefits of transport systems, rail will finally be valued appropriately for its long-term return on investment. Cisco brings a wealth of intellectual resources to this important endeavor. By inviting stakeholders from business, government, and community, we intend to generate collective intelligence toward policies, plans, and investments that serve the country.”

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To date, the development of measures and cost-benefit analysis in the transportation field has focused on the individual project level, not the whole system level. In a world of limited resources (i.e. natural, environmental, spatial, and financial), individual projects can only be analyzed and conceived coherently if we know what they are meant to accomplish as part of a complete system. For capital investment in infrastructure to be productive and profitable for public and private purposes, we have to develop and agree on a set of measures and values to guide policies, planning, and investments. Achieving goals requires metrics so that baselines and targets can be set and action plans can be implemented. Once these national level measures are established, they can be applied to regional and local investment plans, so that individual projects can be developed more purposefully and productively.

OnTrackNorthAmerica is a 501c3 nonprofit transportation policy development organization based in Philadelphia, PA. Cisco Systems focuses on the transportation industry through its Internet of Everything Vertical Solutions Group. OTNA’s board members, Ron Batory, Bob VanderClute, and Mike Koontz have been serving on the National Transportation Life-Cycle Costs and Benefits Project development team, along with OTNA founder Sussman and Cisco’s Einsig.

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