Shortly after taking office in 1993, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore called for a shift in American technology policy toward an expansion of public investments in partnerships with private industry. The authors of this volume were invited by the Clinton administration to take a hard, nonpartisan look at how successful the new policies have been and to propose ways to make their programs more effective. The first summary report of the team's recommendations was called the "hottest technology policy property on Capitol Hill."
The growth of the Internet has been propelled in significant part by user investment in infrastructure: computers, internal wiring, and the connection to the Internet provider. This "bottom-up" investment minimizes the investment burden facing providers. New technologies such as wireless and data transmission over power lines, as well as deregulation of telecommunications and electric utilities, will provide new opportunities for user investment in intelligent infrastructure as leverage points for Internet and broadband access.
For years, the world saw the Internet as a creature of theU.S. Department of Defense. Now some claim that the Internet is aself-governing organism controlled by no one and needing nooversight. Although the National Science Foundation and othergovernment agencies continue to support and oversee criticaladministrative and coordinating functions, the Internet is remarkablydecentralized and uninstitutionalized.
This collection explores the opportunities for and possible implications of coordination between two of the major pieces of emerging infrastructure in the United States: Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and the National Information Infrastructure (NII). Based on a recent workshop that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, MIT, and Harvard, Converging Infrastructures frames the programmatic, organizational, and technical issues involved.