Commerce

Travel along the I-10 exhibits the mainstays of our consumer economy: transportation, retail, food, and the overall built environment. Its underlying global supply chain is less obvious. The Ten Across region offers glimpses of how emerging technologies and rising nationalism will change the future of American commerce.

Since the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act was conceived, this system has become the primary means of transporting goods across the country. Autonomous trucks currently being tested along the I-10 corridor will recalibrate the economies that have developed around this network.

2/3

goods shipped via truck in the U.S.

Source 2017 North American Freight Numbers. U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, TransBorder Freight Data, 2018.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Our values can now be measured by the container load. East Asia’s rise as a manufacturing center for popular consumer goods resulted in the expansion of Western U.S. ports. Los Angeles is now the country’s largest container port complex, the hub of a vast distribution and retail network radiating outward.

Facts and Figures, FY 2018-2019. Port of Los Angeles.

73%

Market share of containerized goods destined for West Coast states passing through Los Angeles’ port complex

Source Facts and Figures, FY 2018-2019. Port of Los Angeles.

Do we perceive our infrastructure not only as a local condition, but as part of a global economic ecosystem?

The U.S. transition in 2019 from net importer to net exporter of fossil fuels is intertwined with continued growth in the petrochemical industry. In turn, the scale of bulk shipping and infrastructure in the Gulf has been dramatically expanded, and the number of deepwater ports handling the region’s exports is projected to grow from 1 to as many as 6.

The race for deepwater oil ports in the Gulf of Mexico is on—and Louisiana is already years ahead. 1012 Industry Report (Sam Barnes), Dec. 16, 2019.

The U.S./Mexico border is frequently a rhetorical flashpoint for immigration and security. Yet it also represents a mutually beneficial point of connectivity, the locus of tremendous social and economic exchange as people and goods cross daily.

$677b

Annual U.S./Mexico trade passing through inland ports of call

Source U.S.-Mexico Trade Facts, 2019. Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Photo: Jones Studio, Inc

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