Aviation and Transportation

Passenger plane flight take off

We are helping the government cope with the rapid evolution of transportation systems as technical advances enable a diverse set of new transportation users and missions that must be accommodated in the existing environment. Our researchers are addressing aviation and transportation issues across our U.S. government sponsors—from accom­modating commercial space launches and unmanned aircraft in the national airspace to harmonizing the global transpor­tation system. We are developing new ways to anticipate and meet future needs. For example, automation promises great improvements in safety, but highly automated, interconnected systems also create security risks.

We are currently focusing on:

  • Improving access for new users, vehicles, operational modes, and business models, without undue impact on existing transportation systems
  • Improving efficiency, e.g., reducing the cost and environ­mental impact of providing transportation services and infrastructure while improving performance
  • Improving safety by reducing accident and fatality rates across transportation modes
  • Improving security by increasing system resilience and preventing unauthorized or hostile activity