In 2002, millions of people descended on Utah for the XIX Olympic Winter Games. It was a big opportunity for a state with only 2.2 million people — one that state leaders took seriously. Utah’s transportation agencies successfully implemented a comprehensive plan across the Wasatch Front that seamlessly transported athletes and spectators to Olympic events. The agencies leveraged historic federal, state and local investments to widen I-15 through Salt Lake County and expand service for TRAX and FrontRunner. Travel times were measured in minutes, not hours. In the 22 years since then, an entire generation of Utahns has benefited from these forward-thinking transportation investments.

As Utah is preparing to host the world for the Olympics again in 2034, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make investments that will benefit our children and grandchildren. This time, however, our future transportation system will include not only roads and transit, but also drones and air taxis that operate via “highways in the sky.”

There is precedent for air taxis to operate safely in urban areas. Leveraging electric, vertical take-off and landing technology, German-based Volocopter is transporting passengers in air taxis during this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Paris. Europe isn’t the only region of the world developing these technologies — nor will it be the first to create an entire air transportation system.

In Utah, dozens of 47G companies are already pioneering advanced, cutting-edge technologies that will be part of the state’s future air mobility ecosystem. For over two years, Zipline, a company operating the world’s largest instant logistics and delivery system, has delivered packages via drone to residents of South Jordan. Utahns can order prescription medication on a mobile app and have it delivered right to their front door within minutes. This drone delivery service is seven times faster than ground delivery and generates 97% fewer vehicle emissions.

Hexcel is a leading carbon fiber manufacturer with a large campus in West Valley City. The company employs hundreds of Utah researchers and technicians building high-performance carbon fiber material used in the manufacturing of dozens of different air taxis, including Archer Aviation’s Midnight.

Highways in the sky will be part of Utah’s air mobility ecosystem and represent the next chapter in transportation that will revolutionize the way we get around. Imagine a world in which life-saving medication, or even doctors, are delivered directly to your door. Or imagine traveling from your home to the Salt Lake International Airport in less than ten minutes.

Utahns will benefit greatly from reduced traffic congestion, giving them more time to spend with family and friends; enhanced access to jobs and educational opportunities; and significantly improved air quality. More transportation choices that include air mobility will directly support this freedom of movement.


Utah legislators have enacted forward-thinking policies to create a regulatory framework in which advanced air mobility technologies can flourish. They have passed laws enabling the creation of air mobility corridors and directed the Utah Department of Transportation to create an advanced air mobility sandbox that will accelerate these technologies in a safe testing environment.

Utah is uniquely positioned to lead the world in establishing highways in the sky by the 2034 Winter Olympic Games. By integrating advanced air mobility solutions into our infrastructure, we will not only enhance Utahns’ connectivity and mobility but also create a more sustainable future. Realizing this vision, however, requires decisive action. Utah must invest in research and development, foster public-private partnerships and continue to enact policies that support advanced air mobility innovation and deployment.

The state has a unique opportunity to showcase its continued commitment to an unmatched quality of life. Utah can lead the world in this new era of transportation. We must seize the moment and create a future where the sky’s no longer the limit.

Aaron Starks is the president and CEO and Robert Carroll is the Chief of Staff of 47G, Utah’s aerospace and defense association. Learn more about the organization at

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