Revitalizing a Nation book cover


Revitalizing a Nation

Competition and Innovation in the US Transportation System

Clifford Winston, Jia Yan
Scott Dennis, Austin J. Drukker, Hyeonjun Hwang, Jukwan Lee, Vikram Maheshri, Chad Shirley, Xinlong Tan
Release Date: December 1, 2023

An efficient transportation system reduces the cost of distance by moving people and goods from their origins to their destinations as cheaply, quickly, and safely as possible. By enabling individuals and firms to be more productive, transportation provides the foundation for the development and growth of industries and an entire economy.

Clifford Winston, Jia Yan, and Associates argue that competition and innovation are the key drivers of an efficient transportation system. The authors provide new evidence that transportation deregulation and privatization that spur additional competition among carriers and infrastructure providers, as well as new innovations that create autonomous transportation services, have the potential to rid the US transportation system of its major inefficiencies and revitalize the nation.

Since its origins in France in the early 19th century, transportation planning has been an incubator for the economic theory of incentives and consumer behavior. In its more recent history in the United States, transportation planning has become a branch of civil engineering, with a command-and-control approach to the design of transport infrastructure and the operation of transit systems. This book provides policy recommendations and empirical evidence that the use of economic markets and the incentives introduced through decentralization, privatization, and competition can increase the efficiency and utility of our transportation system. This is a provocative message that will get pushback from the transportation community, but it initiates a dialogue that can lead to significant improvements in the design and operation of our transportation infrastructure.
Daniel L. McFadden, E. Morris Cox Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of California, Berkeley Nobel Laureate in Economics
This timely volume presents new research on the efficient design of transportation systems, reminds us that how a nation deploys transportation technology and utilizes its public and private transportation capital are key determinants of economic performance, and highlights the central role of public policy in the transportation sector.
James M. Poterba, Mitsui Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in transportation economics, in part stimulated by new technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles. This volume provides an invaluable economic analysis of some of the key public policy issues. It will be of great interest to both research scholars and public policymakers.
Stephen J. Redding, Harold T. Shapiro ’64 Professor of Economics, Princeton University


Clifford Winston is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and Jia Yan is a professor of economics at Washington State University. Their associates are Scott Dennis, Congressional Budget Office; Austin J. Drukker, Federal Trade Commission; Hyeonjun Hwang, Kyungpook National University; Jukwan Lee, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy; Vikram Maheshri, University of Houston; Chad Shirley, Congressional Budget Office; and Xinlong Tan, Langchao Innovation.