2016 Washington Auto Show Public Policy Day
Capitol Hill Program – Mobility Talks and the Connected Car
Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Address by Mark Gessler, President, Historic Vehicle Association
“Fifty years ago, in 1966, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act that led to 90,000 buildings being documented on the National Register of Historic Places as important touchstones to our past.
Ten years later in 1976 we honored our nation’s aviation heritage with the opening of the National Air & Space Museum that is today the most visited museum in world.
America is an automotive nation … and mobility is a deep part of our heritage that has somehow been overlooked in our national heritage agenda.
So two years ago, at the Washington Auto Show, the Historic Vehicle Association launched the National Historic Vehicle Register in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs (HAER) archived in the Library of Congress.
Our mission is simple “to share America’s automotive heritage with the American people.” Our mandate however is likely broader than you might think. Not only do we document the past but also important historic moments in our present time – like the connected car technologies that will be discussed and demonstrated here today.
The Historic Vehicle Association arrived here in a 1915 Model T Ford – part of the 1st wave of automotive transformation. In fact about, one hundred years ago Henry Ford sold the millionth Model T and the first coast-to-coast highways were being built.
Last summer we drove this Model T from Detroit to San Francisco to follow a trip taken 100 years ago by Edsel Ford when he was 21 years old – to celebrate the dawn of the American Road Trip. The trip took the same roads – many of them still dirt and gravel. The trip took 34 days and covered over 3,000 miles. I can tell you first hand that this car was pure genius and it is no wonder it was credited as putting America on wheels. Our only repair for the entire trip was a one flat tire.
Back then hundreds of automobile companies and thousands of entrepreneurs were at work transforming America as the automotive nation.
Today, we are again at a historic inflection point in mobility with V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) technology and the prospect of the autonomous car. We are witnessing an industry on the move with hundreds of companies and thousands of of entrepreneurs and technologists driving the transformation.
This new mobility will forever change America, again – and the Historic Vehicle Association plans to be here to ensure these exciting times are accurately recorded for those that will stand here 100 years from now.