Thursday, February 9, 2017

How Would Vancouver Transition to a Driverless City?

Turning Transportation Challenges and Opportunities Presented to the City of Vancouver by Autonomous Vehicles (93 page pdf, Cail Smith, Greenest City Scholars Report, Aug. 31, 2016)

Also discussed here: Vancouver Prepares For a Driverless Future That Includes Extra Space for Walking, Cycling, and Transit (Mobility, Jan. 17, 2017)

And here: Transportation 2040 Plan: A transportation vision for the City of Vancouver (City of Vancouver)

And here: Transportation 2040 (99 page pdf, Plan as adopted by Vancouver City Council, Oct.31, 2012)

Today we review plans and reports aimed at the future of Vancouver in 2040 which may include a transition to driverless or autonomous vehicles (AV) as well as meeting the target of having 2/3 of all trips made on foot, by bike or transit. With a 90% AV share, freeway congestion would be reduced by 60% from present levels and 30% of city traffic would be reduced by no need to search for parking. Garages could be converted to guest houses and garage lanes to useful parks or gardens. Shifting to AVs would save the average Canadian household $2,700 per year (4% of income) by decreasing insurance, fuel and parking costs, as well as saving the City of Vancouver $15 M/yr on maintaining and monitoring parking spots, while also reducing revenue from parking tickets by $53M/yr (also 4% of net revenue).


Key Quotes:

 “We need to ensure we are proactive in meeting our Transportation 2040 goals, and whether there are policies in the City’s toolkit to help minimize the risks and pressures automated vehicles might put on those goals.”

“Transportation 2040 plan – passed unanimously by Council in October 2012 – is a key policy direction that explicitly prohibits a net increase in motor vehicle capacity on City of Vancouver streets. Once driverless dreams become a reality, this creates an exciting opportunity for building complete streets that include wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and bus rapid transit lines.”

“In the next 30 years, the number of Vancouver residents aged 60 and over will more than double. An aging population means changes in travel patterns and more people with physical challenges getting around our city”

 “In the City of Vancouver, vehicles account for over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. We can make a big difference by prioritizing sustainable transportation choices that use renewable fuels or use fuels more efficiently (transit, ride-sharing, and low-carbon vehicles), or don’t use fuel at all (walking, cycling)”

 Some key targets:

“By 2040, at least two-thirds of all trips will be made on foot, bike, or transit. The total number of trips by sustainable modes will grow significantly, while motor vehicle volumes will slightly decline.”

 “By 2020, the average distance driven per resident is reduced by 20% (from 2007 levels)”

“Although the Telsa Model S and Google Car are both well - known as “driverless” vehicles, they have very different capabilities. The Model S is only at level 3 so when its ADAS systems are engaged, the driver must still be ready to intervene at anytime. On the other hand, the Google Car is closer to level 4 or 5 and the driver is not expected to monitor the vehicle.”

 “Industry experts suggests that by 2040, AVs will be the primary means of transport” “I was able to convert the garage in a laneway house for my mother-in-law. Our whole neighbourhood is doing something similar. Our back lane is a great public space.”

“There also might be significant changes to or the removal of traffic signals, traffic markings and signage designed to communicate with users piloting motor vehicles. Research is already being done on autonomous intersection management (AIM) where an intersection “server” Communicates directly with vehicles rather than through traffic lights”

“If AVs are able to reduce the space between vehicles in a lane,.. that with 90% AV market share, freeway congestion would be reduced to 60% of its current levels. Additionally, if AVs can drive in narrower lanes, road space can be reallocated for walking, cycling and transit paths.”

“The time and VKT spent searching for parking also has a significant impact on congestion in the city; some researchers estimate 30% of city traffic can be attributed to people searching for parking “

“Fewer parking spots will also reduce maintenance and monitoring costs (a $15,153,000 expense for the City in 2015) and also reduce the revenue generated from parking ($53,178,000 revenue in 2015, around 4% of total revenue).

“In Canada, the average private vehicle sits idle for over 23 hours per day and costs over $9,000 annually if driven regularly …Initial research indicates that switching to SAVs could save individual households an average of $2,700 per year (4% of the average household budget) by decreasing insurance, fuel and parking costs “

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