AUSTIN, Texas — South By Southwest attracts some of the most innovative people and top tech minds in the world. This also brings with it more traffic to an already congested city. The solution to these types of problems might come from a place away from our roads.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao led the discussion about emerging transportation technologies. Chao spent time talking about how her department is working to prepare for new technologies within our local and state governments, such as tunneling, Hyperloop and autonomous vehicles. She also announced a brand new part to the department, one that will be solely focused on these modes of transportation. She is calling it The Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Council.
"We want to improve the quality of life for people and how we do that through these emerging technologies," Chao said. "What is the government's role in making sure that we are not the obstacle but that we are encouraging and allowing these new projects."
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Chao also spoke positively about how a Hyperloop system in Texas -- one that goes through Austin -- would make it easier for people and items to move about at rapid speeds and short time periods. She said her team is continuing to figure out how safety authorizations, permits and funding would work for all these potential ways to travel.
Chao said she wants to reduce the burdens and steps connected to her department, helping give a clearer path for these emerging technologies.