Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Can Self-Driving Cars Improve Mobility in Cities?

English: Disruptive Technology Graph
English: Disruptive Technology Graph (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NACTO Policy Statement on Automated Vehicles (4 page pdf, National Association of City Transportation Officials, Jun. 22, 2016)

Also discussed here: NACTO Releases Policy Recommendations for the Future of Automated Vehicles - New disruptive technology has the potential to remake city streets, and policies must directly address their expected widespread impact on safety, mobility, and land use (Press Release, National Association of City Transportation Officials, Jun. 23, 2016)

Today we review a policy statement by an association made up of municipal transportation planners from 40 major cities in the USA that transforming cities constrained by congestion and old vehicle technology to future ones where automated cars improve mobility and safety by all modes of transportation, not just for cars but even that could be much better. Automated cars offer a way to dramatically increase the capacity of (and lower the capital and maintenance costs) city roads and highways as well as making them safer for pedestrians and cyclists by imposing a speed limit of 25 mph. They will also offer more space in cities for homes and businesses by virtually eliminating the need for on and off street parking – a function that today covers as much as 40% of urban areas in the form of parking lots and driveways

Key Quotes:

 “New technology has the capacity to reduce the footprint of vehicular travel, moving more people in new forms of medium and low density transit, while creating space for safe and inviting walking and cycling infrastructure.”  

  • “Plan for fully automated vehicles, not half-measures: …[half measures] have been shown to encourage unsafe driving behavior, with drivers reading more, texting more, and generally being inattentive while the vehicle is in motion.”
  • “Rethink our streets and expressways: … technology will dramatically increase our current expressways’ capacity, making some currently planned expressway expansions potential ‘white elephants’ “.
  • “Ensure safe operation on city streets, including limiting automated vehicles to a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour: “
  • “Create data-sharing requirements for automated vehicles: …Requiring the sharing of high-quality, standardized data from automated vehicles would allow for cities to take a more data-driven approach to transportation.”
  • “Change planning models to incorporate the expected disruptive impact of this technology: “
Autonomous vehicles offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset our streets and address the fundamental issues of traffic safety, congestion, and mobility as our cities grow ever larger.”[ Janette Sadik-Khan, Transportation Principal at Bloomberg Associates and NACTO Chair.]

 “Shared, automated vehicle technology can remove that expense and physical burden, and enable cities to redirect their limited resources away from storing cars and toward affordable housing, high quality transit, and active transportation.”

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