Can the Northwest Build a New Economy Transportation Sector?

That was the topic among regional transportation experts in a recent WCTA meeting facilitated by Byron McCann.  We do have a surprising number of strengths–and weaknesses–in the area.  Of course, there are a number of opportunities and threats, too.  So, to make some sense of some of the discussion, I have endeavored to summarize many of the thoughts here into at classic SWOT analysis:  What are the Pacific Northwest’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats when it comes to the development of a new economy transportation sector?

Please comment!


  1. Digital expertise
  2. Consumer demand for greener transportation
  3. Development of charging station infrastructure
  4. Great research institutions
  5. Expertise in materials
  6. The cost of electricity is low
  7. Military presence as potential leaders and buyers
  8. Entrepreneurism
  9. Developing battery technology
  10. Specialty manufacturing
  11. Aerospace expertise
  12. Telematics firms
  13. A trade association (WCTA)
  14. Truck manufacturing


  1. Not enough wins…yet
  2. Little primary sector expertise—Seattle isn’t Detroit
  3. Capital—particularly big capital


  1. Heavy truck manufacture
  2. Conversion technology and companies
  3. Developing regional EV entrepreneurs
  4. Solar powered cars??
  5. State participation: fleet purchases/involvement


  1. Other regions buying out successful startups

Conclusion:  There may well be portions of a new economy transportation sector that we can develop in the region that might become transportation sub-clusters.  Digital applications in vehicles, expertise and validation in converting vehicles to new sources of fuel, and almost any aspect of heavy trucking are possibilities….